Earlier this evening I stood on the deck overlooking the river. A sliver of moon, like a pale ivory scimitar, sought its way through tangles of bare branches in the tall sycamores on the island across from the cottage. Soon it would sink over the western horizon, leaving only the light from scattered stars to punctuate the crisp darkness.
A dozen feet away water purled over riffle stones. A good sound—the murmur of a stream at peace, neither rushing nor resting, but flowing steadily along, finding its way one bend at a time to a destination already set at birth, down a pathway as ancient as surface geography. You might even call it a happy river.
I feel small when I look at the night sky. And I feel foolish when I listen to rivers. If you want to know your real worth, look up at the stars and listen to streams. Both rearrange my personal perspective while administering a dose of humility. Oddly, I find the experience reassuring, refreshing. I can't grasp one, and I don't understand the other. But I know those stars will still be out there twinkling in night skies a thousand years from now—and I know rivers will be whispering their way from source to sea.
With me, or without me. I don't really matter; I'm not responsible.