By: Maddy D.
Edited by: Emily Chance
Oh, my dear, sweet river; I sit by your side day in and day out. I watch the sun caress your back and heat your cold blood. I feel your icy touch and your breath weaving mist against my ageless skin. Yet, not once in that time have I thought about what you must feel. My thoughts are idle, carefree things– you must understand. They flutter about like the swallows and butterflies that dance over your head. They are as intangible as the flickering shadows that dapple your liquid skin. Fleeting and shallow. Forgive me, my river, for such callousness; for I am nothing but a rock at your side.
Now, I think of you in your youth, wild and untamed. The sky and the sun were your companions– and the world! Oh the world! It was yours to mold; yours to take. Your dominion ranged as far as you did. As far as you could reach, your fingers clawing away the earth, uprooting trees and shaping stone; it was all to your wishes.
My dear friend, how does it feel now to be fettered? To be transformed from a raging feral beast with pluming whitecaps and melted fire? They yoked you to the earth. They stole your spirit. I watch them trudge up and down your skin, cutting into your blood and offering it to the sky. I see how it sickens you; I know how hard you try to make it not be. The toxins that seep in through the wounds make you sluggish and cumbersome. It nauseates the fish that live in your stomach, weakens the beasts that siphon your lifeblood. I see that ghastly sheen, mimicking the rainbow with its false beauty, which coats your flesh. It must sadden you. I know it saddens me to see you suffer so.
Fear not, my sweet river! Do not be discouraged. You are timeless. You survived through the biting ice crusting your skin, and later when it cracked open in gushing sores. You survived through the weeks of unending rains– the sweet, sweet rains! – that swelled in your heart, your belly, your soul, and gave you such joy you leapt your banks. Remember the earth you claimed for your kingdom then? How it stoppered your blood, forced bald spots to form on your flesh? You did not let it encumber you. Not so! You stretched out your fingers and wove a new course.
Not once did I see you doubt yourself, not once did I see you stumble. Do not let it settle in your heart now. You have come too far, faced too many obstacles to succumb to thralldom now. Let them think they have won, let them think they have you broken. Bide your time. Keep the spark of pride in your eye, the gentle song of the wind in your heart. I know the day will come again when you will race past me free and clear, cackling merrily to the sun. And I? I will be here for that day too, my dear, sweet river, nothing more than a steadfast rock at your side.