I sat alongside the River Shannon throughout the days and nights during my time in Ireland. I watched her flow and crash along side stones and mossy edges placed here long ago with the old Gods. I saw the crests of her highest currents dancing under the moon light as it frothed like a dark brown leviathan in the night. Her movement eerily silent under my feet as I stood on the banks of ancients castles and bridges. If it wasn’t for the soft whisper of her waters striking the channels of Limerick you would never know she ran so mighty and so strong.
I stood there in contemplation. At times deep in thought over the weeks and months that had passed in my life and at times intoxicated beyond my limits smiling to myself as I realized where I was or who I was. I didn’t mention to anyone or anything why I stared endlessly into this river other than I was lost in thought or distracted by the whiskey in my blood. I kept it to myself as I thought long and hard why I couldn’t look away, why I simply felt lost and found within the icy waters of the River Shannon. “Who was i”? I thought to myself repeatedly. Was I stone that cut the river in two? Was I the bridge that man made so strong and so mighty that it held for centuries ? Was I the many known and unknown creatures that swam beneath? Was I the pillar or the river?
I thought to myself quietly, often chuckling unapologetically in disbelief of how dramatic the endless thoughts could be in my mind. So many times I had fancied myself the pillar or the stone to cary burden that I simply could not grasp what the river was trying to whisper to me. So I listened. I listened long and hard away from my team.. away form the buzzing of clanging Guinness gasses and Celtic music that warmed the heart. I stood alone and lowered my ear not only to the waters of this beautiful river but to the thoughts coursing through my soul like the long lost forgotten hydro highways of the viking era.
What echoed in my soul was not the ramblings of an insane man but instead the clarity of clarity. It was evident that in different times in my life I have seen myself as so many things. The liar, the thief, the hero, the kid… the golden boy, the villain, the wolf and the rhino… the coach, the student, the pillar and the bear. And now at this very moment I could not help but relate to this ancient water way flowing so proudly at my feet. She has been adored as much as she has been discarded with hate. She has ushered some of the mightiest of warriors across her frame but taken countless souls deep within her icy waters to never be seen again. She has been praised for her beauty by poets and scribes but belittled to ashes to engulf nothing but the wastes of cities and man.
Am I not the ever changing stories of the river? Are we not all the students of change? Have I not risen with the moon and fallen with the sun rise ? Am I not the warrior of the night but the teacher in the morning? Do I not protect as much as I destroy? Do I not search endlessly for the path of least resistance but also charge steadfast into mountains and stone to create grooves of permanence? I sat there in deeper contemplation understanding the words being hummed to be as the moon passed over head. As time would have it, I am no longer the unmoved stone or pillar despite my countless attempts to Harden. I have learned to bend as much I have learned to halt against the land. And there against the cold waters of the River Shannon I came to realize a new story…
The war drums beat again in my should and as deep as they have always been they now echo further into my very being. They ring into my past as much as the present and remind me of frailty of tomorrow. I can feel my bones ache and creek like the waves of a dancing river over limestone sentinels. I can see the high tides of my life tattooed on the shores of my mind as I look down into the low tides of my darkest days so often set aside lost into the night. My bodies abilities twist and turn as some froth lightly against green shores and others crash thunderously without question or pause. But throughout this all the River remains the River as I remain the man that I am. I have traveled this worlds through its divots and crevices never halting in my understanding that I could never be anyone other than myself. The river has never understood the ideas of retreat, instead, throughout the difficulties of stones, mountains, man, cracks, caves, holes and the deepest pits of despair… she has only ever understood … FORWARD
The river does not dance against her will…
She is warrior in the night and the flower in the morning
The river does not crash against her character..
She is the mother of mountains and the artist of land
The river has never apologized to the ocean…
She merely travels on … and on… and on..
Never Stray from The Way