• Roberta Rathert

This Morning.


Starting the day, the water is flat. I have an urge to ice skate on it. The current is nearly undetectable and flowing with gravity for a change. Downriver. The sky is mildly blue, not much cloud action. It's just not a dramatic time. I shouldn't even be writing about something so plain and benign. It's a zero on a -10 to +10 scale.


I am taking a long weekend at a campsite only a few feet off the river's edge. I need the rest and some contemplation to get ready for what the upcoming river has for me. It will become less friendly, and sometimes downright unfriendly, toward paddlers. Everything gets bigger by the day, riverbanks, trains, waves, barges, and its width. But shelter, rest, and access to provisions get smaller. This time is important time spent to make plans, check maps, and just plain buck up.


When I started my trip, I asked God to spare me one thing. Fear. Anything done with fear draped over it is ruined. It is like the bug net I have draped over my head because of the morning's one imperfection. Gnats. I am kept from today's hatch of bugs, but everything I see has a layer of white net between it and me. Fear influences everything just like this net, even a perfectly zero morning. God has been good to me and obliged my desire to remain clean of fear, because it's an addiction to humans that robs our hope.

Yes, I've felt much else, like when I thought the water betrayed me, which it didn't, or when I sunk into deep mud and thought it had it out for me, when it didn't. Oh how hurt I felt, but it was just mud which can also be comical if you let it. Nothing on my river trip has feelings but me. I can feel disappointed, frustrated, cautious, exuberant, or inexperienced. But I'm free of fear. This makes it easier to see what God has in mind for me.


On this next portion of river, I'm going to add a game, sort of like Scrabble. For every experience or condition, I will give it a word, an innocuous word. When I fall in the mud, it will be muddy mud. If the rain soaks me, it will be soaking rain, loud thunder, or crackling lightning. After all, I'm not in the Land of Oz where trees are mad and monkeys vengeful.


It's a plain day, a flowing river, a changing world. Gnats are annoying, but they don't mean to be. Contemplation brings perspective change which brings hope and trust, a shield against fear. What a nice day for a zero day!


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