And So I Return To The River, Down To My River To Celebrate New Truths

I turned around and she said
“Why do you always end up down at Nick’s Cafe?”
I said “I don’t know, the wind just kind of pushed me this way.”
She said “Hang the rich.”

Robbie Roberston, Somewhere Down The Crazy River

Last weekend, after spending the night up kvetching over those dark nights of the raging soul with a new friend, I related my own suppressed rage when my marriage ended, after she had revealed to me her angry demon that lived inside, born from the ashes of her own separation, betrayal, uncertain of who she was anymore, nothing certain but her wounds, fresh and bleeding. I knew that person I saw before me, tear stained face, skeptical she would ever escape that wrath that lay inside her.

I told her the truth, that it could take years, maybe less, but it would be hard, no sugar coating, it is hard to turn your back on anger and a rage that has no place to go.

Staring back at me was a projection of who I used to be, who I was actually even afraid to be, truth be told, and really thankful for the mercy of suppressed raged, I thought, as she related one recent story of how she assaulted a cabbie in a complete blackout and now may go to jail for.

I carried rage inside me for many years, I left things by the side of the road, like my camera, my love of gardening, my heart bled tears of betrayal at the universe for first taking my husband, and then taking my mother, all within the space of a couple years, and leaving me alone to deal with it however I saw fit.

And what fit for some years ended up being a dark pint of Guinness and a wonderful neighbourhood pub, which served me all the libation I desired, watering down that rage in pint after pint.

I know about watering down rage, easy as it may seem, it is a poor remedy though for a broken heart, it stings in the morning.

Far better to take one’s water in another fashion, such as cycling along riverbank pathways, maybe sitting on its banks watching sunlight sparkle, and quietly I sigh, and lay my troubles down, somewhere down the crazy river.

When I left her place just after dawn, it surprised me how close I was to my river; but I should have known, should have known it was nearby.

Thames Valley Park way – south branch – London Ontario

You know, that river has flowed past a lot of my most painful moments, with it I have shed tears, fears, it has flowed past many of my stories.

So I stayed up all night with her and told her this stuff, showed her one of my soothing solutions for broken hearts and sad days and nights, which is binge watching my favourite archaeologists trowel away, the British show Time Team.

The other being what I did after I left her apartment, with sunlight dancing across the Staghorn Sumac, waking up these memories, reminding me of how far I’ve actually come.

Wow, I have come a long way, baby.

Rose – my vintage Supercycle – she’s almost as old as me.

So I had to return, had to, and so all last week I planned my escape to the river.

Yesterday, after giving Irish a really long walk, I put water in a bottle and took off with what I call my Rambling Rose, who I had not ridden yet this year, and summer was almost gone. We both I guess needed some airing out, pump up our tires, cleaning off our dusty wheels in rain puddles left along the path, roostering a fellow cyclist, by the by, it was a very beautiful day.

Not to hot, not too cool, just right.

I admit I am afraid to entangle myself in this new friends drama, experienced as I am, her solutions no longer serve me. I mean, sure, staying up all night is all well and good on those blue moons, and we drank tea all night, and it was a much more sober me that walked home early that morning, but still.

Her habits generally find her down at one of my favourite London landmarks, the Richmond Tavern.

Being one of the oldest still standing in London, history oozes from the walls, beer stains the ancient wooden floors, characters rich and poor or just plain destitute have bellied up to that bar, as have I. I do love the place, but still, too easy to be lured back into a world I left behind because it no longer served me.

Well, actually, it did, which was half the problem. The primary one being that I was even there to begin with.

However, I had agreed to meet her there because she had accidentally grabbed a couple of my keys the weekend before. Because otherwise I would not have even ventured out, but I needed those keys to get into my mail box and lock up my bike.

Anyways, I paced myself, I enjoyed myself and alls well that ends well.

Still.

Yet, that morning as I walked home I felt confident, I felt proud actually, and all the way home I thought about that pride. It is a strange resident, very alien, but there it was.

And, I had all the tools, I came out the little pathway that led from her building to the parkway, and took out my phone and loaded up my transit map to see exactly where I was, and off I went in the right direction.

Oh, mom would be proud of me, as she said she was afraid when I moved out on my own that living in London I would constantly be getting lost. Well, 30 or so years later, but thanks to smartphones and the internet, I don’t have to rely only on my crappy sense of direction.

Well, and I used my instincts, and turning my eyes towards the river I saw Monarch Butterflies were lapping up the nectar from the Swamp Milkweed that lines the path, and so I had to stop. Putting Rose off to the side, I snapped away for 20 minutes or more, returning to the same spot on the way back.

As I snapped away a large group of Mennonites came cycling past. And I mean a huge large group of them, smiling and obviously having a wonderful time.

Wait, did you hear that
Oh this is sure stirring up some ghosts for me
She said “There’s one thing you’ve got to learn
Is not to be afraid of it.”
I said “No, I like it, I like it, it’s good.”
She said “You like it now
But you’ll learn to love it later.”

IBID

So, you will find me, somewhere down the crazy river, where those ghosts no longer haunt me, hope embrace me, down by that river.

I am changed, I am transformed.

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