River of Consciousness

Down by the river again. Late afternoon on a beautiful day. The sun is cloudy white above the winter mountains, bare bones of trees standing like a regiment against the white sunset. The log I sit on is perfectly placed for such reflections, my feet crisscrossing over sand, dully glinting with bits of mica. The sun is low in the sky, its reflection in the river a column of light, distorted by the constant movement of the water, which almost seems to carry the light with it as it moves down the stream. A tree leans before me, framing my view into irregular blocks. It’s my last day of freedom. Someone has built a cairn at the river’s edge, a small pile of water worn stones. I remember someone telling me a story about cairns once, that they were trail markers intended to lead you home. This marks no trail save that which the water cuts through the land, but I like the sentiment all the same, as if it were left as a marker by some traveler whose footsteps imprint the dust with squiggles outlining sneakers. A sign for me who wanders by the river, a brand in the darkness calling me home.

Recently, more than ever, I have longed to be alone, away from the influences of others. More than ever I don’t understand them; they worry and confuse me. The sound of water disturbing the silence washes my soul. It feels like spring, though it is only a midwinter thaw, and as always during that season, I feel the urge to roam far and wide over fields and hills, into woodlands. But I have bloomed too soon, and tomorrow trapped inside, I will wilt like a flower in a cold snap, folded in upon myself, my head drooped. But for now I burst with calm radiance in the setting sun, tendrils of my mind reaching out, spirit rippling like the sun in the river. I reach out to the cairn, want to follow its trail to the end, a river of consciousness, enveloping the world.

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