It was she who first beckoned me this morning with her call.
So I walked out to my porch and listened to her sound but it wasn’t enough.
So I got in my car to drive down to see her afraid that she might have already overflowed into the park,
but she hadn’t.
I was not satisfied there at the fork in the road as I listened to her voice
So I drove side by side with her.
As her siren call said with more urgency.
I made a half-hearted attempt to go straight
but instead made a sharp left into her awaiting parking lot.
She lured me in, come closer so that you can feel me.
So I got out of my car into the pouring rain and stepped over and through puddles and mud
as I glanced at a couple of people with umbrellas under a tarp.
But still she wasn’t satisfied; she wanted more of me, as I was pulled closer.
So I looked at a small deck thinking maybe I can stand on it to watch her flow by
but this wasn’t enough
So I stepped to her bank hindered by some bramble but still closer.
I watched her rapid flow and wonder if she wanted me to get in and join her
with all that mud and debris.
I was so thirsty and she so full of life.
I took off my shoes and put my feet into her.
And then I spotted a downed tree
And it said yes, use me.
I don’t have a camera to show you
how I got on that fallen tree
as it laid over her creating a bed for me to sit on.
I climbed as it whispered to me to risk
going further and further out over the flowing water.
Too close to the shore wasn’t enough for her.
No more playing it safe this time.
So I half crawled and walked further out on its trunk and sat straddled watching her current.
I stared at a spot where there wasn’t any bark along the trunk,
like a baby’s face or a barren spot amongst an old man’s whiskers.
I absently thought a tree stripped of its bark isn’t a good thing.
As I reached down to stroke its mossy side I thought of lichen
Something that can live on anything.
Then I saw a stick and then another one in the water and thought how curious so much like before
Not more than minutes later, I saw what had drawn me to the river today.
Even though I hadn’t known it.
It wasn’t she, but he.
I could have missed him slithering by with his own urgency if I hadn’t glanced up just a moment before.
His triangular head, black body mesmerized me
with lines down his back as he flowed by me on the surface of the water slithering downstream.
Wait I wanted to say, but he was gone
He looked young but felt old.
I got up and gingerly gripped the tree as I made my way out of the park.
With a knowing that something was complete
I thanked her and him for allowing me to See
Something in me felt full like the river’s body
As I made my way home.
In reflection, I am not at all surprised that I saw him at the river on this dark and rainy day. He has shown up in my life in the lightest and darkest of ways over the years. Once, in Guatemala, on Thanksgiving Day when I left my family and dared to be away by myself. I saw him there. As I pulled a book on Mayan History off the shelf he jumped out, before slithering away.
In dreams and visions, he comes to me, his sly eyes and sinewy body facing me off. Even at the waterhole less than a month ago. He came right up in front of me when I wasn’t looking, pushing his face towards mine with his white opened mouth. He frightened me and I screamed and quickly swam away. Those who had witnessed this told me that he watched me; maybe testing me before he quietly swam away. I don’t think he wanted to cause me harm, but I cannot be sure. I would like to think that he just wanted to make his presence known.
Some call him a healer, others the devil. I guess he can be anything I want him to be. Maybe I will call him Shiva that dwells within Shakti. A talisman for the transformation that I need to make. All I know is today; I made my way towards him instead of running away.