theater, I saw “A River Runs Through It.” Based on autobiographical stories by
Norman MacLean, the film ends with the author as an old man fly-fishing in a
river and thinking over his life, the people he has loved, and their places in
the great river of time. The film ends with him intoning, “I am haunted by
heard it I have been humming it to myself. Just a few weeks ago it finally
occurred to me to buy it.
mean entrenching system?
means is my life over, there is a lot still to come. Some wonderful things. But
outside of rarefied roles like Supreme Court Justice or Pope, I am not young
sometimes I believe it is – I don’t need to start packing yet. But if there is
something I really want to do before heading home, I should probably get to it
sooner rather than later.
are also limitations. There are so many things that I know will not happen now.
There just won’t be time or I don’t really have the drive or talent. This is a
hard thing to know, but in time the bigger things become smaller and the
smaller things become bigger.
not some distant relative. I greet him as a friend. So I bought a shovel – I
mean an entrenching system.
canyon. But I live close to a creek. An ancient one that, in the winter when
the trees are bare and you look, you can see the sinews of the land and how
over time this little trickle of water has gouged the earth.
its great power – moving swiftly enough that it is plain even to us with our
lives of mere decades.
rocks clogged with leaves. I watched for a long while as the water pressed
forward, colliding, forming eddies. I could have watched forever.
it brought me such a simple joy to ease the way of the waters.
where I could unblock the water. But I needed tools. Sometimes there were small
shoals where water gathered and sat, stagnant.
and I headed to
the house. A yard to clear, gutters to clean. She’s right of course. My work
clearing the stream has no purpose. The waters have been going where they are
supposed to go since the earth formed and will do so until it is no more. My
small efforts amount to nothing.
my entrenching system and go to the creek. My headphones stream the soundtrack
to “A River Runs Through It,” though sometimes I take them off to hear the
waters murmur. And for a little while I touch something so much greater than
myself and my tiny cares.