I started to write a poem but had an existential crisis instead.

23 Feb

You think I would have learned by now that I shouldn’t go anywhere without my camera. Even if I’m just going down to the office to get a little bit of work done on a Sunday afternoon when no one else will be around to distract me. The sky was so blue and the canyon was so beautiful that I decided I could not stare at a computer screen for another moment. All I could find was a crappy pen and some scrap paper so this is what I did instead of taking pictures or checking my email.


Merced River Symphony

You must sit down on a comfortable rock that juts out into the river.
Get comfortable, perch on it,
Like a mermaid.
Then open your ears and listen….

It will overwhelm you at first,
The symphony of water flowing across rocks.
But then each sound will become it’s own instrument.
Each instrument layers over others to make a melody,
Each melody stacks to create a harmony.
Each harmony weaves into a cacophony.

There….deep, in the bass-
That’s water pouring over a rock.
That’s the rapids just downstream.
That’s the pool upstream.
brppl, brppl, brppl, brppl, brppl;
A trickle of water through the rocks at your feet.
The thalwart, towards the center, sings;
blaf, blaf, blaf, blafl, blaf,
Water hums around a dark colored rock;
wrrrrh, wrrrrhhhh, wrrrrhhh,
And splashes on the shore;
rickle, rickle, rffff,
And if you listen closely, every few bars you’ll hear it;
Another part, high in the woodwinds (that is, the trees)
Shhhhhhhhhsssssss, SSSSShhhhhhsssssss, sssshhhHHHHssssss,
And softly,
The tenors have the easiest part;
And somewhere, you’re not even sure where, the water is grating

But of course you can’t hear this.
Music and words are powerful,
but even music and words cannot make a river.

For that you need mountains, and rocks,
Lots of rocks,
And snow and rain to fall for days,
And the sun to melt the snow high up in the mountains,
And send it cascading down in creeks and streams until it reaches the river.

Words cannot capture
The bright white glint of the merganser diving in the pool upstream,
And the hypnotizing swirl of bubbles rising up in the current.
Although music may make a passable attempt at the song of the dipper,
It cannot show the bobbing dance he does when he stands on the rocks.
Words cannot paint the warmth of the sun,
And music cannot capture the water scented breeze.

Even if they could,
This river,
My river,
The Merced River,
Will not sound the same tomorrow.
Tomorrow the sun will shine even brighter, and warmer
And the snow will melt faster,
And the river will flow even higher,
And the rocks that today peer out of the water
Will tomorrow have water coursing over their tops.
Maybe they will make a sound like
Fssshhhh, fsssshh, fsssshhh.

But the point here, is that these sounds, all of them, are happening RIGHT NOW,

So I’ll tell you what to do.

Turn off your computer.
Go outside.
And find your own river.
If you cannot find a river find a creek.
If you cannot find a creek find a lake.
Or if you cannot find a lake, a creek, or a river,
Find a place where the wind blows through the grass.
And sit.
And listen.
To a symphony.



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