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The River Spring

In the winter of the world

the space between the banks

is dormant and dead.

Everything is still.

Cold-bound.

Barely breathing.

The river seems rooted,

a trapping, grabbing tale

of deep-seeded ice

that snarls at the sun

and locks its jaw against life.

 

You can walk on the water

and feel it insisting on its own inevitability.

It is too-far hard-frozen to ever crack and cede its hold.

 

But when the softening air of spring

winnows through the high hills

and whispers a quiet warmth

to quicken the hearts of the trees,

a

steady

drain

of

single

drops

drips and rolls,

trickling and tumbling,

turning to a hundred tendrils

of waking water

all clawing away

at the clench of winter.

 

And down along the river,

where rounded rock meets old sand,

those far-off sudden springs

find fuller voice.

Gravity-gathered and

gyred by the

gradient

they spill out,

shouting,

into the silent streambed,

slowly

living.

to

back

it

lifting

 

Beneath the cold calm surface

currents start to

spin

again

and the rising water pushes up at winter’s ceiling

with all the power of slow truth.

The river arches its back.

At the edges of its surety

the ice fails.

Grudging movement comes on the flood

and the frozen floor pulls

up

and

clear

of the bank’s earthen bones.

The long-held quiet

creaks and falls into

cracks and groans,

filling the forest with

the breast-deep growling of a season’s hard habits

breaking

from

the stress.

 

Uncountable droplets from untold trees

are pushing the world apart.

 

Everything staggers. Sways.

Faults

appear,

fine

at

first

then flaring

wider as the flow’s grasp

grabs harder hold.

Whole sheets start to shift away,

sliding into the tide,

only to surrender to their own strains

and

split

once

more.

Then, in a deep rush

the river becomes

a living slurry

of ruined certainty,

a carpet of roiled

serenity wracked by

waves and rapids.

Sullen slabs of thick winter,

threshed in the tumult,

are tumbled over

to show their

dirt-dark foundations.

 

all the river-world seems to roll

 

running and running and

watering winter downstream and

washing away the season’s firm assertions and

clearing the channel in

an aching release and

bringing new breath back the banks

 

The ice will not yet yield

It is not done.

At every bend and bottleneck it crowds up, dives down, fights back, digs in.

A jumbled jam of frozen defiance.

But it cannot hold.

Cannot last.

Cannot help

but give way to the

weight of water

backing up behind it.

 

Spring will have its river.

 

And then you can walk out into the water

to feel the free currents

singing a

song

of

ripples

around

your

ankles

calling you out into the summer of the world.

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