Doe River, Roan Mountain, Johnson City, Tennessee
Would you come along?
A few years ago I had occasion to travel to Northeastern Tennessee to a place called Roan Mountain. Surging from Roan Mountain is the Doe River. I wish to take you there. Would you come along?
Come with me through the forest down into the Doe River gorge. The ground sinks under our feet from the hundreds of years of nature returning to itself to provide for itself and for us, although we are one. Some of the walking is difficult--the vines get in our way and the partially decomposed fallen trees block the path we pick out.
Feel the majesty of what once was and will be again.
Sometimes I stand on the fallen trunk and feel the majesty of what once was and will be again. I giggle and want to swing from the vines and yell mightily as I jump into the river. I restrain myself because the river is only a few inches deep--I can see the stones and silt on the bottom now. The bank drops off quickly so the last step will be a long one with no real assurance that the bottom is really the bottom. You reach out your hand to steady me as I make that last step--with a grin and much faith, I let go and step into Doe River. The water is cold initially. It rushes around my jeans clad leg almost up to my knees.
I am laughing aloud now. I begin walking in the water, feeling my legs getting used to the coolness, letting my feet find the stones, the soft bottom, the millions of years of Doe River searching for the sea. I reach down and get one of the stones, rubbed smooth from thousands of miles of rolling down and down, for years of being soothed by the river, being slowly returned to the soil whence it came.
Sounds and paths change
You are now in the water with me, walking gingerly and wondering if we can keep our footing. We walk toward the rushing rapids upstream, hopping up on large boulders occasionally to survey our progress and watch the water eddy around the boulders. It makes sounds and paths that change each time we take our eyes away.
The smells of the woods, the water, the rocks, the trees, the plants are overwhelming in their richness, fecundity, the sounds are profound, talking to us of journeys it has traveled, of promises to us. And we know that those are promises that will never be broken.
As we make our way closer to the waterfalls, the water reaches our knees. I reach down again and divert the water, feeling it on my hands and arms. It splashes on my face and I, powerless to stop, splash some on you. We both laugh out loud, sit down and are surrounded by all of the feelings of the greenness around us. Tears stream down our faces mingling with the water from whence they came, the tears are a sign of the joy that is within us, joy from our sharing -- with each other and with Doe River and every river and all water that exists now or ever has.
Inside us and around us, now and tomorrow
The water welcomes us and washes over us, we can drink and feel the clarity, taste the journeys it has taken, know that it will give us life and soothe our thirsty beings. We are refreshed in every way--our thirst is quenched.
It is inside us and around us, now and tomorrow.