Little Boat, Little Boat

Riding along in my little boat I notice many others floating alongside. Some have sails, some have oars, and in some I can only see hands flailing over the gunnels seemingly having little effect on the direction being taken. All have one thing in common. Each boat has a single occupant as it moves inexorably toward the promised conclusion of these rides, somewhere further along on the river of time.
—–Sometimes sailors congregate in flotillas, tossing their mooring ropes over one another’s gunnels. It’s hard to see any purpose for these ropes other than to connect us to a larger reality than the one to which we must inevitably return. It’s as if a memory of another land, which could support us better than the one in which we struggle to make our way, keeps us searching for a shining armada that would give us a place to stand in this flowing stream. So, we keep gathering in floating rafts, searching for a wholeness that is comforting, until the rafts separate and release us once more to our private journeys.
—–I sometimes gather with other boats where one sailor looks like an owl in her pea green boat, one plays the cello; and we share poems, prayers and reflections about the waterfall we sense awaits us somewhere ahead, booming through the mists that cover everything.
—–The inevitable cessation of the highway of water on which we float comes into focus, if only at the margins of our consciousness, when we can’t forget that for someone else it has already happened. Then we yearn to see a shoreline guiding our journeys as we pass over the surface of our lives, but our eyes seem unable to penetrate the mists that rise from the stream along which our boats are bobbing. It seems that we have only speculation with which to wonder where this river is carrying us.
—–Some of us have witnessed someone whose boat suddenly vanished from the surface where a moment before they were floating alongside us in a flotilla called ‘family’. Like a speeding meteor that leaves a contrail after burning up in the atmosphere, we imagine that they have plunged over the booming edge of this river of life. Those who have witnessed this sudden disappearance understand that our own little boats won’t bob along forever either. But the nature of the stream that is carrying us along remains a mystery; a mystery arising in a mystery.
—–It’s as if we sailors in time have all been born with minds that dream up a world of meadows and streams, livelihoods and intentions. And who’s to say that these visions are not all equally true? There must be more than these wooden hulls being carried along in an unstoppable flow of water. When I relax and let my mind flow freely—as if I am water pouring into water–I glimpse a hand moving across a page, a red cup with an inch of coffee resting on a bookcase beside me. And I remember a passing of years that is urging me to notice the future sailing toward me across the blue, sunlit water. As I look, I realize that it is trying to catch my attention. I just hope I can remember how to listen.

One comment to “Little Boat, Little Boat”
  1. These says my boat has little leaks that require bailing. And at times I think I hear a big waterfall approaching. And at other times I am tired of paddling and steering. What will be, will be.

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