Small Sips from the River

Is it really too late?” he asked.

I used to feel encouraged by his hesitant optimism, which provided me the room I seem to need to come to a more positive attitude on my own. But now that several trade routes into the future have run aground or, worse, a cannonball has caved in the hull of the ship I had thought was on course towards safe harbor, I find myself holding back from the merest hint of optimism. I’m like someone who has poisoned themselves on too much bourbon whisky and can now no longer tolerate the fumes from an open bottle.

I’ve gone down that path too often, allowing myself to think that my dreams and hopes are waiting for me to just show up and collect them –then realized yet again that I am one of those whose lives have been forever banished from happiness. I now consider myself lucky if I can weasel out of whatever slough of despond I have stumbled into that day. And as for this world, I have given up on it ever righting itself. Although, as Bill has helped me see, I obsess about the political situation too much, even though I know I have no power to change anything but myself.

I don’t really remember what I said next, but I must have been ranting, because Bill cleared his throat and looked out the window behind the couch where I was sitting, as if to say that the possibility that a flock of Canada Geese might wing by on its way to Bosque Del Apache was more interesting than my ardent pessimism; and I suspect to let me know that he was not about to validate my tendency to fold up the tent of the future and stuff it into the closest garbage can.

When I finally ground to a halt, he looked at me again.

I’m sure I don’t have to point this out,” he said. “But I only have to suggest that you might look at events from a different perspective, for you to treat my words as some Pollyanna claim that everything will work out just fine; and that the leg you lost when a driver dropped his phone onto the floor and reached under the dash to retrieve it, will miraculously grow back. We’ve talked about this before and you’ve agreed that you want to learn to see the opportunities that are always present in each new situation. You’ve agreed that when you let yourself see those possibilities with fresh eyes, you are able to reshuffle the deck of cards you’ve been dealt.

Seeing that our 50 minutes together was almost up, I interrupted and said, “That’s why I keep coming back here, Bill.” We both smiled as I pulled out my check book. Then I hesitated.

I seem to have 1000 horses inside me,” I said. “Most are galloping along their dusty trails, unable to stop. But a few are waiting for me at the edge of the river. And I know if I removed the wagon poles and took off their harnesses, that they would step into the river and drink . . .” I shrugged and concluded, “Perhaps something for us to talk about next time.

Bill responded, “Perhaps something to think about this week?”

I took out my pen, opened my checkbook and, filling in my weekly payment, it crossed my mind that if I stepped across the river’s edge myself, the herd of my scattered being might follow.

2 comments to “Small Sips from the River”
  1. Oh, what wonderful insight into our shared
    human condition, beautifully expressed. Yes, thank you.

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