The river

(This is just a quick thought after a walk in the park this morning, not finished by any means. Totally rough draft, but thought I’d share anyway.)


I walked on the concrete pathway
Squirrels playing around the base of large fir trees
Dogs walking their owners
Dappled sunshine
Then I heard it
The river calling me
It was out of sight
But unmistakable
I followed a small rocky pathway that veered into the woods
And then I saw the source of the calling
It was wide and grey
With sun glinting off the tops of waves
Crashing over rocks and fallen trees
Originating in the mountains
Parented by small streams
The wilderness passing through the city
Calling to those walking by
But how many heed the call?
How many listen and hear?
How many alter their path when destiny calls?
The wilderness sharing its wildness
Through the crashing waters
In a local city park


Years ago, as a small pile of books accumulated on my shelf, books with my name listed as the author, I thought about the futures of the individual copies. I heard from readers who used the cookbooks constantly, and others who gave copies to friends and family. I pictured the books on kitchen shelves, sharing space with The Joy of Cooking. Some copies would end up in boxes in attics. Thrift stores would hold discarded copies. And one of my favorite visions for my books was they would live on in libraries, in the back recesses of a library’s warehouse.

Yesterday, I was adding books to my Holds in our local library’s computer system and decided to see which of my titles the library still carried. I guess I was looking for reassurance of a form of immortality. I know the library did carry my books at one time because this wasn’t the first time I’d searched for my name. What came up this time? Only a book by another author who had quoted me in her book. If someone, for whatever reason, had wanted to read one of my books or cook something from one of my cookbooks, there was nothing there. It felt like a huge part of my life had ceased to exist. The library won’t purchase books older than two years old, so even if someone had asked them to replenish my books, they wouldn’t.

Funny how a simple vanity search at the local library can bring about almost an existential crisis of sorts.


tiny frightening requests
have patiently awaited you
we each have questions
that belong to us
the questions that are germane
to the next stage of life
we can refuse the conversation
or turn our face to the question
and share in the rewards
of the truthful metaphor