Caught in the Current of the River of Time

The passage of time is like the flow of a river. And a stick is caught in the current. Some weeks, the river is low, and the stick gets trapped in eddies, and makes very little headway. Other weeks, the current of the river is fast and violent, and the stick is tossed to and fro in the rapids as it flies down the river, covering miles and miles without even trying as it’s violently battered against the rocks.

Photo: Chilly Chill, via the Flickr Creative Commons:
Photo: Chilly Chill, via the Flickr Creative Commons:

I am the stick. Whether I have a quiet ride, get hung up in eddies, take the path down the river that I want to take, or whether I’m bashed around by the waves, I really have no choice.

These past few months, I’ve been a stick at the mercy of the river. Things I wanted to do have been bashed to pieces in the wrath of the river. Physical ailments and the busyness of life have kept me from riding when I want or where I want. Trails and roads I planned to pedal this winter have gone unexplored. Fitness miles I wanted to log in my legs have dissolved into an ephemeral mist.

Even at work, this past week I’ve been the stick. While I’ve put words together all week, they’ve not been the words I’ve wanted. They’ve been words responding to emails, deadlines, and demands, and not ideas, ambition, and creative energy. The current has obliterated my plans.

Or maybe that’s what the river wants me to think. Maybe it wants me to believe I’m a stick in a current. Maybe instead I’m really a kayaker with a paddle that might be pushed and thrown by the rapids, but yet still the master of my own destiny.

Photo: Jim Liestman, via the Flickr Creative Commons:
Photo: Jim Liestman, via the Flickr Creative Commons:

Can you relate? Do you feel like a stick in a river sometimes?

The rapids in the river could be entirely different things for you. It could be busyness with family, demands from work, bills that need to be paid, bad weather that doesn’t seem to let up. Even if none of these things are inherently bad, they can add up to create a relentless torrent of never-ending water that beats us into submission.

But I don’t think we’re sticks. I think we’re kayakers.

I think we can fight and tame the river.

I think we can surf in the holes and play in the rapids.

So this week, this month, this summer, I exhort you: be the kayaker. Take control of life and make it what you want it to be. Get out and explore the new trail the next town over. Take that camping trip that you’ve been talking about all winter. Pack your bags and hit the road to a destination still unknown.

Live, laugh, love, and inhale the moment that you’re occupying in time. Pedal until your legs fall off. Don’t allow the relentless flow of time to break you into splinters on a rock–paddle your way through its stream to where you want to be!

Where I want to be. Photo: Scott Anderson.
Where I want to be.
Photo: Scott Anderson.