What is “singing the river”?

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

~ Wendell Berry ~

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”

~Norman MacLean~

I have been haunted by waters as long as I have been baffled, which is to say, as long as I can remember. Growing up in Minnesota, just a couple miles from the Mississippi, I assumed lakes and rivers were a part of everyday life, were life itself. I spent weekends by a lake an hour’s drive north of Minneapolis. I got my first taste of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness just after I graduated from high school. Somehow I managed to make a career working with lakes and rivers. But my real work, my real journey, is just beginning.

I have been a blogger for over ten years at Sand Creek Almanac. Sand Creek Almanac is about my world, which is centered in east central Minnesota on 40 acres of white pines and alder swamp, with a creek running through it. Living in such a natural environment, much of what I write and photograph is nature-oriented. But my life is an ongoing adventure with my husband and three kids, and in those pages I have documented the building of our house, my attempts at gardening in the Coldest Spot in Minnesota, my kids’ achievements, and whatever else moves me to write. I try to avoid controversy and politics, but once in a while I can’t help it. I also stay away from doom and gloom environmentalism; there are plenty other bloggers out there who have it covered.

Over the years, the posts at Sand Creek Almanac have gotten fewer and fewer, partly due to Facebook, partly due to busyness. But there is another reason I only recently acknowledged. Sand Creek Almanac is a story of ten plus years of my life, but of course I wasn’t telling the whole story. Life changes. Kids graduate from high school and move on. Half a year from now, I will turn 50. I feel as if a new story is emerging, and I can’t make myself keep appending new chapters to an old story.

So the new story begins. A story of rock and water and leaf and sky, all one. A story of reconnecting. A story of the cycles of the seasons, the cycles of life. Ever flowing, ever singing against the rocks that time has built. Each voice part of one Great Song.

Singing The River.


7 thoughts on “What is “singing the river”?

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