The River And A Duck11.21.11

Today on my walk the river and a duck taught me a few things. This river is really tiny, hardly deserving of the title “river,” or so a friend announced to me a few months ago. “That’s a river? Why, in my part of the US, that would hardly be called a creek!” I had sidestepped the derision at the time, since I could easily hear myself saying the same thing twenty years ago, but the comment remained in my memory.

This morning as I walked I felt particularly fragmented. Last week had been filled with people, meetings, much work outside of my gift set, and disappointments in myself and others. The early morning had been filled with sadness and anxiety over a very needy person and my inability to help. As I walked, my eye was caught by a contented duck perched on the bank of the river where it turned slightly deeper and went under a bridge. The sunlight illuminated the early winter palette of dry grasses, mud, water, and concrete, revealing delicate hues I’m not normally drawn to. As I stared into the water, at first I thought I saw fish- but it was only narrow leaves caught up in the current. They spun and moved a little from side to side, carried along submerged in the cold clear water, following an invisible inexorable pull downstream.

Something made me look again, and this time, under and beyond the dead leaves and grasses floating down the river, I saw a fish dart. It was unmistakably a fish because its body bent, then straightened, flexed again, then switched directions- first downstream, then up, then over to the bank. And there were more! With a little persistence, my eye soon distinguished between the leaves and the fish, and I was amazed at how many lithe gleaming fry there were. I smiled in thanks at the duck and continued on my way. My life isn’t all just detritus caught up in the demands of the day; there is life, and with a patient eye even I can see Life in my life, surprising me like those little messengers of God thriving unfettered in the frigid waters of a tiny urban river.

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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

9 Responses to “The River And A Duck”

  1. Thanks, Andrea. I can picture just where you’ve been walking. Thanks for writing so well about your reflections as you walk there.

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    Posted by Norma Wyse on 12/13/09 November 21st, 2011 at 11:32 PMReply

  2. Lovely reflections, Andrea. Grace and peace to you friend, along with a hug.

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    Posted by Judy Amundsen on 12/13/09 November 21st, 2011 at 11:58 PMReply

  3. I love watching fish in rivers and streams If we are quiet enough we can see and hear so much life all around us.

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    Posted by Kristine on 12/13/09 November 23rd, 2011 at 12:12 PMReply

  4. Love it when God does that! I have been comforted by a butterfly or a sparrow at times. My mom’s favorite saying was:

    Said the robin to the sparrow,
    “I should really like to know,
    Why these anxious human beings
    Rush about and worry so.”

    Said the sparrow to the robin,
    “Friend I think that it must be,
    That they have no Heavenly Father,
    Such as cares for you and me.”

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    Posted by Bobbi on 12/13/09 November 26th, 2011 at 3:21 AMReply

    • What a beautiful glimpse of part of your mom’s legacy to you and those around her. I’d heard it before, but maybe I need to memorize that poem!

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      Posted by Andrea Johnson on 12/13/09 November 27th, 2011 at 2:28 PMReply

  5. That little poem is one of my favorites! How nice to be reminded of it here. Thanks for your beautiful reflections, Andrea! Your thoughts also remind me of how much we have to be thankful for, even though some of the blessings need a patient, persistent eye to see.

    I’m feeling slightly worried that I was the poor friend who made the derisive comment about your sweet river! What a fun thing it is to be able to picture you walking exactly there–a definite blessing of 2011!

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    Posted by Sonja Anderson on 12/13/09 November 28th, 2011 at 7:49 AMReply

    • Be at ease…who said it is irrelevant, and even if you said something similar, derision isn’t one of your attitudes. I only remember the comment because it gave me an opportunity to realize how differently I view things now. When someone says something I don’t feel anymore but did once, I stop and ponder why.

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      Posted by Andrea Johnson on 12/13/09 November 29th, 2011 at 2:18 PMReply

  6. What a beautiful description of your walk – and a lesson in looking for beauty and/or inspiration! I always appreciate your excellent messages.

    However, when I read them I get lonesome for you and your family!

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    Posted by Arleen Johnson on 12/13/09 December 2nd, 2011 at 9:54 AMReply

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