"I do love the sound of your life, rippling, murmuring, giggling, humming along as you live your days," wrote a dear old friend the other day. I smiled at her description of my life and thought of myself as a little brook splashing its way from one tiny lake to another. The occasional bit of treacherous rock outcropping to manoeuvre around. The odd waterfall to navigate. The occasional portage necessary. But mainly a pretty serene life.
Margaret Laurence wrote of life as a river in The Diviners. Moving water is not an uncommon metaphor for life, but we usually think of much larger rivers, ones with depth, and speed, and great breadth and length. Important rivers. But perhaps that is because the metaphor is used most often in the middle of a life. When it describes old age, it is the end of the river, the estuary where the water spreads out over mud flats to meet the sea gently, sluggishly.
I think I much prefer the idea of my life coming to its end in a little tributary, in a happy little stream. I've lived through the tumultuous years, the years of being a part of the world, the years of building career and family, the years when what I did made a difference. Now I am quite content to live my life simply ... rippling, murmuring, giggling and humming my way along.
I am lucky. The friend who wrote those words is back in hospital for the second time since November when I visited her. She is still hopeful and positive, but living is hard work these days. I wish she could join me in my little tributary and have some respite from the waves that threaten to engulf her.