Time is never wasted

So there’s all this river of life stuff of course, all the creek metaphors I’ve flogged over the years, but who can help it, the creek being the way it is? Freezing, thawing, flooding, the torrents and quiet pools on its way to the river, to the ocean. The ducks, the dippers, the pea boat races.

A little forked root I’ve tossed pops into an eddy and circles the same ten inches a dozen times. Around and around and around. A tiny snag of current almost catches it. Drops it. Back it comes. Again and again and it’s hard to not to throw the pebble that would send it on its way.

If you happen to think of that root as a metaphor – idle, stuck, aimless, adrift, wasting time – well, the sun was at just the right angle to light up all the dark branches holding out the new green leaves in the way that happens only in spring. The Pacific wren flooded the bush with its whole kit and caboodle. The creek, well, it rushed and warbled and pooled and waterfalled and cooled the heat and chased away the flies. And, my god, there were sticky cottonwood buds littering the air with the smell of fresh beeswax in a spring-sprung hive, that smell of the nurseries that give us the self-same honey we drip onto still warm bread. The little root spends time this afternoon like time is nothing to get hung up about. That same old time is setting aspens all a tremble, giving them a little twirl, each cluster in its turn.

So who’s to say what’s a wasting? So what if we forget for just a moment to think about what comes next? Who cares if the skin falls slack from our arms as we bend to take a drink beside the old dog, to lap the water together? Yes, when we think to look again, the root is gone. Who cares? We’re still squatting, quenched beside the creek.

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