Thursday, May 20, 2010

A River Runs Through It

I never really think of myself as particularly "artistic," mainly because when I draw or paint with my three year old son, well let's just say I haven't progressed much in my rendering ability since my childhood. But, I've recently begun to realize I tend to think in pictures. When I'm having discussions with people, and I'm articulating my point, I usually have distinct metaphorical images in my mind.

Today as I was explaining the place that I now find myself in with my oldest child, images of water swirled in my brain. In the past, particularly while I have navigated post-partum depression, parenting has felt like the ocean for me: vast, unknowable, unending, with forceful waves relentlessly pursuing me at the shore, threatening to tug me under.

But, at the moment we have reached this place where things have evened out for both myself and my son, and parenting doesn't feel so much like the ocean, as it does a river: twisting, always surprising, where I will at times find roaring and frightening rapids with jagged unseen rocks to navigate, only to find just around the bend a serene and smooth stretch, where I regain a sense of wonder, and peace, and I can rest. Presently, I'm floating seemingly effortlessly along with the current. I'm blissfully in the moment, not fretting about what has come before, nor nervously anticipating the geography of the landscape ahead.

While an ocean indiscriminately covers and conceals the terrain, its depths largely unmapped, its tides powerful and unceasing, a river is a different force; a river changes the surface of the terrain. A river has a plan, that flexes to the land, but doggedly pursues its end to create a "wide, flat valley where it can flow smoothly towards the ocean."

In those moments of peace as I am carried by the smooth waters of motherhood, I appreciate the grooves and valleys that the River has carved, and marvel at the steady force that has reshaped the topography, leveling mountains in its wake. In those peaceful meanders I restore myself for the rougher waters ahead.