River Watch

The river runs, swollen in spring
from a source high up in crevasses
of snags jutting skyward of tree line,
cracks perpetually harboring snowpack,
bald crags carved by weather and the
bare relentless blaze of a
beneficent sun;

Churning down gullies and sluices,
bounding over boulders and rocks
wrapped in tangles of gnarled giants,
arboreal elders rooted in gneiss
from ages past, feeding from that
pure crystalline source;

There is no stopping the flow
until inserted concrete bulwarks
cause it to fan out, curtain-like,
sparking jewels from midday shards
of refracted light, dancing through
branches and dying in the froth
of churning surge, foaming,
ever rambling, to the inlets
of the sea.

Photos taken while traveling over Stevens Pass, Washington State. ©Bela Johnson, 2018

29 thoughts on “River Watch

  1. I love how you made this poem all about a river. There’s so much going on around a river, twists and turns, waters crashing, and all the little rocks and organism making up a river. Really like the line ‘…curtain- like, sparkling jewels’. When the light falls the right way, a river can jump out at us just like that. Your poem reminds me of a time I went hiking and got lost, but stumbled upon a gushing river that guided us in the right direction 😊 Hope you are well and have a good weekend 😊

    1. Haha, Mabel, it’s not the first time I have written about rivers 😉 They truly are special entities unto themselves, quite different from lakes and oceans. It’s cool that the river guided you home. I’m sure rivers were an important guideposts for early explorers.

      Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I’m far, far behind on my own WP reading, so if I’ve missed any of your excellent posts, I will catch up soon. Returned from my vacation to a 3-day writing retreat. It’s a group I’ve written with for almost a decade now, and we meet only twice a year. Now I’m trying to catch my breath and get caught up on business as well! Aloha, and hope you’ve had a great weekend, yourself! ❤

    1. Omg, Betty, isn’t it exquisite? I’m so glad you’ve had the chance to traverse it. And did you get to the town of Leavenworth? What a trip that place is! It’s where we took a long river walk and I snapped some of these shots.

      Hope you had a great weekend! ❤

      1. Yes, truly exquisite, Bela. When I was younger we always went over the passes (Snoqualmie too) at least once a year. Was in Leavenworth dozens of times. It changed over the years (since I was a kid) but always kept its charm. It’s been many years now and I can imagine it has continued to evolve.
        Have a great week! 💕😊

      2. Fabulous to be traversing your old stomping grounds 😉 Living so long back east, I missed a lot of the western states, though my dad did take us to Yosemite when I was a wee tyke and to Sequoia. Other than that, it was the Sierras and desert country, which I still have a great love for.
        Have a great week, yourself, Betty! ❤

    1. Oh, no fooling, David. I always feel wistful when I have to leave – there’s a real draw to woods and clear waters, and Washington State is nearer to us than our roots in New England. But Hawaii has our hearts as well, so here we remain. Aloha ❤

  2. Some of the best poetry has been inspired from water, whether it is by the shore or cruising along…water so soothing, an elixir of life yet a destroyer! Your verses convey the bouncing of waters, leisurely…”dancing through branches”…Bela, I love the imagery that takes the readers along and then the picture a placid water body conveys the contradiction that my thoughts jump elsewhere! You seem to have travelled to a lovely location! I know it must have been so relaxing! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lovely, Balroop – yes, water is an amazing element and one essential to life. It’s interesting to consider it a destroyer, but of course it can be. Though I consider this part of the cycles of nature. If humans have multiplied beyond reason and inserted themselves as disruptors to the cycles of other species as well as nature herself, well, it is simply responding in kind.

      I’m happy you enjoyed the images – I had so much fun with a couple of dear girlfriends as we traversed the state of Washington from west to east, pausing to admire the lush scenery. I found as I always do when visiting the mainland that I do miss rivers and lakes – bodies of fresh water that strike through the varied topographies of the North American continent. How the early settlers must have marvelled at the then-untouched beauty of it all, the richness and abundance of the land that nourished them well, but also of course proved rugged and daunting in the harshness of winter.

      So though I miss that sort of pulse and heartbeat, the mainland US has become so crowded that I scarcely recall the perceptions I had as a youth – that, indeed, there was wilder-ness to behold. Still, it is beautiful and I will journey there again sooner than later. I find I do like the Pacific Northwest, and hope next to venture further north into parts of British Columbia I missed due to time constraints this time. We did get to Vancouver Island and I saw a cougar’s tail swish, at least! Not to mention various birds and animals I had missed during my time in Hawai’i Nei.

      Thanks for taking time to offer your response to this post. I’m so glad you visited the redwoods, one of my all-time favorite places! Aloha and blessings. ❤

  3. Loved your poem Bela.. I love watching water flow, and it will always find its own path of least resistance.. We have much to learn from watching rivers.. 🙂
    Such beautiful images Bela.. a delightful journey by the looks of these beautiful pictures..
    I adore the last image with sun-rays glistening from above with the Tree stood proudly in the foreground ..

    I hope the Sun is shining its warmth and the rains have now stopped now you are home..
    Sending continued love and well wishes Bela.. ❤

    1. Mahalo, Sue. We have much to learn from observing nature altogether, do we not?

      It was a fabulous trip with two dear friends, all pulling our weight so nobody really got the least bit stressed. We cooked almost all our meals from farm-fresh organic produce and local protein sources. Plenty of energy on the road, which is key, at least for me at this time of life. The meals we had out were divine as well. Real treats, rather than chug it down to fuel the tank 😉

      We have had sunshine (and a 3.7 cracker of an earthquake early this morning, epicenter right on our town!), but the weather has been Odd. Really, really hot and humid – of course from all the rains, it would be. We live in a very lush, tropical region. And Still. Our tradewinds are predicted to return next week, thank the goddess, so that much is in view. With all my Irish/Scots/English blood, I really don’t do well in this type of climate. I loved feeling the crisp fall air again on the trip, so enjoyable! It sure was nice. But the inevitable settling in of winter would find me too cold, so there you go.

      Hoping all is well on your side of the pond as you head into your own lovely fall season. Sending love and Aloha back at you, dear Sue. Take good care! ❤

      1. That Quake’s epicentre a little too close for comfort Bela!. So pleased you had a good time away.. And yes our temps have been up and down.. Yesterday I sat on our swing in the garden eating ice-cream in a T-shirt, Temps yesterday here 21C… Today they dropped down to 14C and its grey cloud and drizzle rain, even hubby put a thick jumper on 🙂
        And yes alls well here Bela… We keep doing what we are meant to be doing.. 😉
        Sending Mega Hugs right back .. ❤ Much Love.. ❤

      2. Haha, well, we do live with a live volcano. It’s a wonder with so many undetectable earthquakes on a daily basis that we don’t feel more than we do. But that a fairly significant earthquake’s epicenter was our town of Hawi in 2006 was strange. It did extensive damage to structures and roads at that time. That this latest earthquake’s epicenter was in our town the other day is also very odd. In both cases, we are the furthest From the volcano – a three-hour drive, in fact! But logic gets us nowhere in the realm of Mother Nature, so we just stay as flexible as possible 😉

        Ice cream and tee shirt weather vs. freezing our butts off is still familiar, though it’s been almost 15 years we’ve been back in Hawaii. Of course in Maine, one gets used to such bitter cold that tee shirt weather above freezing is not at all unreasonable! We were throwing our clothes off the minute the needle moved above 30F!

        And yes, doing what we must, what we enjoy – awakening to each day with the miracle of breath and life is what we have. That’s all we know, really. Big love to you, dear one. ❤

      3. That dearest Bela is all we can do.. Like both hubby and I say, We are grateful to wake up each morning, and just live in the moment.. While being aware of ‘Everything’ in the Universe, and deep within that ‘knowing’… We enjoy each breath while we breathe… 🙂 ❤
        much love dear friend ❤

      4. Yes, we both feel the same here. Every single day. On the road map of eternal Existence, we find ourselves here. Now. We will never pass this way again. And so we begin. Again. Anew. How we become mired in illusion is mind-blowing in the face of such clarity. Yet, expecting it will happen again as it does, even to a relatively minor degree these days, we breathe. Aloha sweet one. ❤ Blessings on the day!

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