I’m so fortunate to have this Roanoke River coursing through my neighborhood. It’s affords me a chance to walk along its banks and connect to some of the energies it collects along its hundreds of miles journey. Springs, creeks, and streams far away contribute to the waters in such a way that the accumulation up in the mountains south of here merge to become this river. A river which then itself continues to move southward, passes between our nearer Blue Ridge Mountains, through the heart of this “young” city, my 100 year old neighborhood, and onward to NC and then the Atlantic ocean. Incredibly its soul here in Appalachia is threatened by insensitive beings ignoring the big picture with heinous pipelines built for short term gain. Yet even still she acquires energies and shares her bounty all along the way. She has shared with me so many times in so many ways. This beautiful precious gift sustains life.
For me, this year has been as rich and full of transitions as any — seemingly more in some ways. As the earth makes its grand arc around the sun, suspended in the cold black space beyond, the teeming life here feels more precious than ever. Like all of us, I have said goodbye to friends and loved ones. Some have died and transitioned beyond what we can know with our literal minds. Sometimes such changes can throw us off our center, especially when we ignore the larger view.
This year, someone I barely knew for over decade gushed into my life. About a year ago, each of our streams shifted direction, and for a few months in the chill of winter, we briefly merged. Our needy souls were replenished and our hearts warmed. It was a rich, beautiful unexpected gift. For unclear reasons, an understanding that’s beyond my literal grasp, she suddenly veered back onto an old course. Whether consciously acknowledged or not, we both were changed. Such mergers change the flow of our lives. By both the wonderfully rich joy of sharing with another, and her painful sudden departure, my open heart was further expanded.
In the following months, life placed me in the flow of dozens of friends and strangers who were being challenged by major, life-threatening issues. My small grief was humbly transformed. I encountered and learned about unassuming people going through truly heroic journeys to simply be able to stay alive. For many, their efforts continue; you also changed me. I’ve tried to acknowledge your gifts too. You may not read this, nor even be aware of my tapping into your flow of energies, but I am grateful.
Grateful too for this amazing gift of life as the Light returns in this approaching new year; this sun hurtling in our one galaxy of billions of suns, with this planet following an ancient arc, teeming with organic life that surges with vitality each day. And for the people whose paths have intersected my little trail, who have opened me, made me more aware of the preciousness of living, the crucial importance of savoring the joy and beauty. You gifted me with the most precious gifts, a heightened awareness and appreciation of simple things: snuggling on a chilly rainy walk with a trusted friend; silently sharing in the communion of being with a heron; sharing a pre-work coffee on a sidewalk table with good friends in one’s hood; toasting a beverage in a foreign land with one’s child who (incredibly) is now become a man; sharing porch time with conversation with dear ones; building unspoken bonds with feline and canine friends; sharing pillow talk with a dying friend; having another year able to engage in long conversations with the kindest mother in the world; experiencing the soul of a waterway... accepting the flow and deeply recognizing the thousands of delicate and incredibly precious joys of life.
As this fluid, ever-changing, nourishing current of life carries us inevitably forward, let’s savor and share its rich and beautiful energies as generously as we are able.