Sunday, December 04, 2011

A River in Winter

Highway 6 ribbons through the dark Pacific Northwest rain forest on this late fall day but in reality it is winter despite what the calendar says. It is something that all of us that call this part of the country home know all too well. The alders and maples have long since forfeited their summer garb, and in the low light of a winter sun, look stark against the gray sky.
Recent rains have swollen the river to a busy flow that is mostly the constant in wintertime. No longer do the leaves swirl in the dark tannin colored pools as now the river turns an almost slate color as if to define the coldness of it's water and winter itself.
The summer and fall river of just a few short weeks ago is now foreboding as if to warn of the dangers in it's water. The wildlife that make their living along shoreline go about their business as gulls wheel over head worrying about dead and decaying salmon that are just out of their hungry reach.
Man might be able to channel, dam and divert the river but if given the chance the river will always reclaim what it lost due to man's interference. The river in winter will reluctantly submit seemingly waiting for the right opportunity to rebel.
I have to take this winter river seriously on these cold days. The river that I waded on a carefree summer or fall day is now intimidating in it's winter power.
The river in winter is a cold and dangerous beauty that demands respect and reluctantly gives up it bounty. I spent almost all of last winter dealing with someone who needed help but refused to take it and my fishing along with my over all well being suffered. In the darkest days of that time I could have used the river for solace and renewal and this year I will do just that.
While winter is not my favorite time of year this year I will embrace it as the journey we need to get through to reach the promise of spring. It is much like our own lives.
I liken the river in winter as more of a time of cleansing and a refreshing of the stagnation of summer. It's a necessary thing that occurs but it is not always pleasant much like my own experiences.

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