The river has risen to magnificence, inflicting random agonies. I play the pain on my old guitar and the pain plays me like water. We are an unlikely duet. I yield the melody to the flooding river because my ragged vocal cords cannot handle the range this song demands. There are high notes best expressed with compassion and exquisitely controlled vibrato, and bass notes so low they trouble the souls of those with ears to hear.
God dances on the surface of the swirling eddies, a child performing in her first recital, insects reveling in abundance. Entire homes float by. “What can we take apart?” God asks, rubbing millions of wet hands in anticipation. “And how shall we put things back together?”
I know I should volunteer but I have no idea where to start or what to do. “God,” I say, speaking against the thunder of boulders rolling by. “How can I help?”
“Good question,” God replies. I’m surprised. Usually, it’s God asking the good questions.
“Climb as high as you can, look across the valley, and find the place where earth meets sky. Then hold your thumb to the horizon and notice how your perception shifts.”
This is a trick I’ve done many times to shrink the size of an imposing moon, but always with ambivalence. I usually prefer an imposing moon and my own hazy beliefs about gravity and the relative size of things.
“I don’t want to do that,” I say to God. “Any other suggestions?”
“Sure,” God shrugs. “Do what you need to do. Take the moon home for all I care. I’ve made a million moons and there are more to come. They will always agitate the water until it turns into wine.”
Uprooted trees float by, lodge, and bend the current. I wade into icy shallows, kick debris off the fence, and watch the current take it away. God shows up in bib waders. I wonder if the old guy is foolish enough to try and fish. He has worms and sinkers. I shake my head. He grins a sloppy, open-mouthed grin.
God’s first suggestion comes back to mind, and I realize elevation is not a bad thing. I pack the guitar and prepare to begin this last ascent. I’ll not lift my thumb to the horizon, though, because perception doesn’t change the order of things. Instead, I will harken to Mother Mary’s wisdom and let it be.