Snowflakes the size goose down were floating earthward from an overcast sky when I went outside this morning to make a few photos on this first day of the new year. The light was flat and soft, but the river which hustled along a couple of yards from where I stood was a lively, luminous blue.
It amazes me, sometimes, the colors this river can show—turquoise, jade, copper, gold, bronze, slate, mahogany, amethyst, crimson, burgundy, ebony. I never know what I'll see…or what I'll record when I release the shutter. A river has countless faces. To say it reflects the color of the surrounding light doesn't begin to tell the story. I'm not even sure anymore that it's entirely accurate. Rivers—this one, anyway—seem to have a light of their own.
Sure, available light and the angle at which it strikes the water, not to mention the water's clarity on a given day, all serve to twist and turn and change the kaleidoscope's hue and pattern. But there are times when the connection between sky light and water color seems impossible. I prefer to believe in a chameleon-like revelation of the river's moods, a cause-and-effect glimpse of some watery soul.
I talk to the river. I expect I've mentioned that before. After all, there's that passage in Luke where Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees, talks about the rocks crying out. I figure if stones can shout and wail, rivers ought to at least listen. Maybe mine does, and perhaps that explains the color variations I regularly witness. Perhaps this old river is trying to tell me something, to relate a bit of its story—things learned upstream; hopes for the journey yet to come.
Rivers seem to me the epitome of adventure. I never tire of exploring their moving path, never lose my desire to learn what awaits around yonder bend. Sometimes I allow the current to carry me along. Often I cross to one side or the other. Occasionally I push against the flow and head upstream. Always, however, I'm excited by their mystery.
Time itself is a river—a flowing mystery which sweeps us along on a journey of discovery. Today we began a new page on a new calendar. The old almanac gets put on the shelf and a new one takes its place on the desktop's corner. Between them, they give some shape and sense of the days ahead. But I'll also not forget how the river looked this morning, a lovely shade of blue that seemed happy, optimistic, a blue promising days of adventure and wonder to be discovered.
Yes, calendars and almanacs have their place—but I'm encouraged most by what the river said…