There is something very comforting about a calm lake or a gently flowing stream–a place to gaze or dream, breath deeply, and relax. This is so very needed in our world. And yet, we are also drawn to cascading water and rivers rushing far above their banks. We need this too: the push, the edge, the wildness that comes with being “out there.”
A Wild Dare?
There are always opportunities to push ourselves. We gauge them, step toward a few, and decline others. This is all good judgement, to calculate where to push ourselves, where not to. And then there are the growing edges–at work, at home, in our hearts–that we flat out resist. It is this arena that sums up this Wild Dare: where in your life right now is it time to leave the comfort of settledness and launch yourself, fear and all, into a brave new risk?
The river swelled far beyond its banks
submerging trails, flooding feeder streams
turning parking lots into duck ponds.
And something else happened.
People arrived, parking anywhere they could
to get a look, to take a picture,
to stand small alongside the rising water.
Every single news outlet spoke of “Mother Nature”
calling upon a name rarely used
but for big events.
They spoke of how you can’t “tame” her
how mighty and powerful she is
as if, when the river stays within its banks,
“she” is somehow subdued and docile.
Regardless, we are all drawn to the spectacle.
To see what happens when record rainfall
meets moving water.
And it is, indeed, breath-taking.
We take photos, we tell everyone about it
those up the road or across the country.
And when the flurry of conversation fades
we stand again, this time quietly,
on ground high above its flooded banks
and watch the swollen river move
with grace and speed.
And maybe it reminds us how little control we truly have
but maybe it also thrills us
that even rivers aren’t predictable.
That life carries with it swells of uncertainty
that feel sometimes as if they sweep us into dangerous depths
but also offer up a sense of wild excitement
alongside the fear
that says maybe this is what it means
— what it takes —
to be alive
to be engaged with this world and with one another.