At the Beloved River

At the Beloved River:
a Ritual, a Question, a Promise

It’s beginning to smell like summer, and beyond all else what this signals to me is pilgrimage.

When the air goes heavy with green, I know I’ll greet my river soon. My family’s midsummer week in the redwoods is almost here, and the anticipation of that homecoming is a feature of the present season.

View downriver on a sunny day, California redwoods

I’ll make my rounds when I arrive at our usual spot, greeting the trails and individual trees, re-acquainting myself with river-sparkle and the particular quality of afternoon sun sifting through deep canopy.

It’s polite to introduce yourself to a place.

Though this stretch of river and woods have known me since I was small, they have a lot of friends and devotees to remember. And I have no way of knowing, anyway, what their memories encompass. So I try to limit my tendency toward presumption.

I might walk the rounds in any direction, greeting with different words each year, in whatever order seems good to me. There’s a part of the ritual, though, that doesn’t change. I don’t know how to talk about it in prose.

It slips through all my attempts, river water streaming from my cupped hands. I got close, once. But I didn’t take it to the source.

In verse, the approach is…not easier. But nearer.

Up today in Issue 6 (“Shadow Puppet“) of the fearless and beautiful monthly journal Kissing Dynamite:

At the Beloved River:
a Ritual, a Question, a Promise

I love the model Kissing Dynamite favors: a small, deeply curated selection of poems, accompanying spare photography, just a little commentary/discussion, and a whole lot of beautiful negative space for you to dream in.

Some other poems from this issue I’ve already read more than once:

Kara Lewis’ Love, Too, Is a Kind of Imposter Syndrome
Jesse Lynn McMains’ Lilac Palace, 1987
Chloe Clark’s A Consolation of Stars

Thoughts? Questions? Stories to share?

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