The River Of Life

Life is a river.
At its headwaters, it is small
and gentle, slow flowing.
As it proceeds downstream,
it widens and deepens,
with turbulence beginning
to mar its glassy surface.
For mile after mile, it rushes,
sometimes calmly, smoothly,
but at other times turning into
raging white water, bubbling
and churning until it opens
once again into calm water.
It nourishes others along the way
and in turn draws needed sustenance
from the many brooks and creeks
that connect with it. There is harmony,
a balance of forces in its flow.
Sudden storms may erupt to send
excessive runoff into its banks,
temporarily flooding and harming
those lands it serves…but patience
sees its return to its peaceful path.
Through rapids, over waterfalls,
rising and falling with the rains or
drought, it stays its course,
consistent, dependable, tenacious.
Finally, this river reaches the delta,
where it spreads out as a sprawling,
flat plain mixing with the saline
of the sea. Here it slows its flow
and, now spent, rests until disappearing
into the abyss that consumes it.
The calm of the eddies,
the exhilaration of the rapids,
the peril of the waterfalls,
and the peace of the delta,
all add richness to the river.

Harry Edward Gilleland      07.24.04