Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Leslie Curchack
Beautiful piece of wild river—my third summer here—I love it! Storms in the mountains translate into unseasonable coolness, changeable skies and rain through the night, though there was a short opening for a brilliant star feast before we nested in the tents for a deep sleep. On my rock this morning, journal and pen in hand, the run of the river before me and a still green pool to my side, I watch clouds and mist drifting through the canyon, sunrise light illuminating high peaks, and a group of merganser ducks serenely floating upstream over rippled currents heading seaward. As I relax, wait, look, and listen, a sense of engagement settles in, a satisfaction with simply being here, and I no longer need to do something productive, or even to think thoughts that are meaningful and might lead to inspired guidelines.
Yet even in this surrendered state, insights drift through the river of my mind like these frothy patches floating by the rock. If I try to grab and contain them, they disappear. What am I trying to construct by holding on to them? What is this momentum in me to build an edifice of understanding wherein all questions can be resolved? Is my psyche pulled with a natural force to know and understand the source as surely as this moving water is pulled by gravity to the ocean?
And, then, what is true knowing—is it the questions, the deep examinations, the "ah haas"—or is it a release from the straight lines of thought into simple awareness and being? More than likely, I reflect, as my gaze falls on the large jade stone in the shape of India which I balanced on a boulder near our campsite, it would be some mysterious balance of both.
For observe, I have written of this experience and given it form. Language is a channel for my being to flow through as it responds to that pull towards knowing. Sometimes, like this morning, the flow of being diverts into a quiet pool and recognizes its nature in stillness, opening to a wider range of consciousness than mental structures can keep, informing the language and the knowing in ways which can't be spoken.
Other laws draw me back to motion. I rise and stretch my arms to the brightening mountain tops, ready to fill my stomach, get warmer clothing and respond to my human companions. The merganser ducks are swimming back to the green pool and I count them to make sure they are all together. Turning to leap across a little side eddy which separates my rock from the shore, my foot catches in a crevice and I stumble to my knees, journal flying out of my hands and splashing into the current. My first instinct to jump to the rescue of my precious words is short lived. That water is very cold. I look at my little red book as it bobs on the ripples and moves rapidly downstream. How perfect for it to be in the river's flow, I muse, running free and heading towards the source.
Leslie Curchack, Petaluma, CA. This entry is a piece of reconstructed journal writing.
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