Sunday, January 24, 2010

The River Styx, Ohio - January 24, 2010

We drove through October, Grandmother pointing at cows,

Mother, bifocaled, squinting at maps for a crossroad

We came instead to the River Styx, Ohio...

...We hope for magic; mystery endures.

We look for freedom, but the measure's set.

There was a graveyard, but we saw no people.

We went back to the car.

...On the wheel

I tensed my knuckles, felt the first stab of pain.

With her family, Mary comes upon a desolated area of bankrupted farms, perhaps expecting the river to open up some understanding that life is more than a future of aimless pursuits to pass the time (Grandmother counting cows), or worrying to exhaustion to see what best decisions to make while missing the moments of the journey (Mother pouring over the maps). Instead this river is the river Styx of old story and mythology, that it is the boundary between earth and hell, and upon it you descend into the pits of eternal suffering. She escapes the river, though does not - the pain endures, the path of being ever so human like her mother and grandmother is ever with her.

Farms, seen from the road, seem like places of lazy indifference to me. The diversity and wildness of this life, of the natural habitat has been tamed and the boredom of what is left shows in every fence line, wandering cow, and discarded machine in the pasture. Through the manure laden fields and rumpled rows of corn run a river of tears of what once was. It is so hard for me to see mystery and freedom in humanity scrambling for mere existence, when there are heavenly fields of beauty that beckon us to play with joy. Pain comes from the cross roads we never clearly find, where we can make the choice for freedom and magic or for the wastelands.

Where in your life do you feel the pain of hopelessness? What choices might you make instead to grow with liberating joy?

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