Dr. Sandee McGlaun, Poet, Reading by Skip Brown

Artemis Speaks

Sep 26 2023 • 3 mins

River Sequence (a Meditation)

1. Riffle

This moment: like a fat round plum smooth as stone tumbled downstream, at the edge of stillness poised to roll. How long does it take a rock to travel the length of a river? How long does it take a mind to wind its way through a memory? Hold the present, juicy and heavy, in the palm of your hand. Loosen the fist of time and lean back, eyes closed, into turbulent water. Let the current lift your feet.

2. Run

A river begins at a clear, cold spring and flows one direction, riffles, runs, pools, and again. Time, too, moves forward in its eternal current, past-present-future. We try to contain it in rows of tidy boxes: line follows line, page follows page. A map draws a blue line we can trace with a finger on folded paper. When you stand in the river and look to its future, the current presses hard against the backs of your legs.

3. Pool

Yet we live days that feel like minutes, minutes that enlarge, engulf years. The river too seeps sideways into the soil of its banks, spreads wide and flat and far when it floods. Water evaporates up into mist and fog, falls back down as rain, each drop rippling out, mosaic of many circles. Still we float along, certain we know where the current will take us. Still we say: the river flows to the sea.

4. Riffle

At sea’s edge time passes more slowly than in higher climes, the scientists say, more slowly for feet than head. Are we drawn toes to tide because its pulse stretches our narrow days? Time: a wave rolling back on itself, a company of shimmering hourglasses that curl continuously toward the future until they end where they began. There is no time, the scientists say. Things happen. What if there is no time? Hard truth. Strange comfort.

Sandee McGlaun

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