Sunday, February 21, 2016

February 21, 2016 - My Side of the River

I like being on this side of the river.  This is the good side.  I think every river has a good side and a . . . not-as-good side.  The side you choose to be on will affect how you see the other side.  I’m on the wild side, the uninhabited side.  There are no buildings where I’m standing.  No electrical wires are running over my head.  I hear the river running strong from the melting snow, and I hear occasional crashes of ice as it breaks free from the river.

This is the good side.

On the other side, life is more confusing, more fast-paced, louder, and filled with lots of entertainment.  There are a million and one things to get done and someone is always in the way, but there are unlimited pastimes and many exotic things to ease the conscience.  If anyone on that side were to look across to my side, I’d probably be too small to see, hiding amongst the trees as I am.  All anyone would see is bunch of rocks on the shore and then some woods.  It’s not really anything to look at, not from that far away.

I know what I’ve got in being on my side of the river, but sometimes I have to go to the other side.  The trick is to try to bring my side of the river with me mentally.  The trick is to bring the fresh pine scent along, with my mind lingering on the wonderful aroma I smell as I walk through the woods.  The trick is to bring the sound of the rushing waves and crashing ice with me instead of listening to cars whizzing by.  The trick is to bring the mindset of peace and room to stretch out with me when I head into the cluttered chaos of the other side.

These are difficult tricks to pull off, but they get easier with practice as long as I don’t have to do them constantly.  As long as I remember to keep peace, serenity, and simplicity in mind, I’ll do alright wherever I go.  I’ve been to places in my past, though, where I was too much enmeshed in the chaos of the “other side.”  I was surrounded by it, devoured by it.  I almost forgot about the good side of the river back then.  I was almost lost to the not-as-good side.

Now I keep a healthy and respectful distance between myself and the other side.  I know what I have, and I wouldn’t take the other side for all the tea in China.  I’ll take the dirt and the mud, the unkempt trails, the washed out roads, and the dark and unlit nights.  I’ll take the scent of pine trees, the roar of the river, and the peace that comes with complete solitude.  I’ll take the hard outdoor work and the severe physical demands placed on me.  It’s not for everyone, but I couldn’t imagine living any other way.  This is my side of the river.

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