I row my own boat with rhythmic thrusts like the breath pattern of a panting man. For decades these constantly caressing ripples have kept me company and on the way I've collected bagfuls of postcards for keepsakes- tons of memories from the past, some lived and some imagined. When I shut my eyes, I catch glimpses of other boats drifting alongside me but with open eyes all I see is nothing and more nothing.
Sometimes there’s the smell of damp mud thrown in my face by the deceiving wind. Have I finally reached shore? Can I finally rest? I sniff greedily and end up confused about which way to go. Is it just incompetence that I always end up in the wrong direction where there’s nothing but more flowing water? Or is it that this is all that there is?
I hardly get enough time to find a solution when I see a rock jutting out in the fluid expanse or must brace myself for a waterfall. Both events say to me mockingly, there’s land down there somewhere that guides the flow of this river. The river appears mighty but does little except covering the terrain that it follows. The only way to find out would be to drown myself and give myself to the river so I can see what lies beyond. But the irony is that after all the sweat when I finally get there, I would cease to be!
I shake off these twisted lanes where my mind keeps peeking. It’s easy to lose your way there and that I can’t afford, I’ve got my rowing to do. But this is hardly worth being done, sometimes I snap back at myself! Instantly the feel of solid, dry wood under my feet and one look at the treacherous everything-else reminds me, this is all the treasure I have.
This treasure turns into a pointless exercise when I think about where I’ve come from, where I’ve reached and where I’m headed- nowhere! In that moment I’m convinced I should throw away the useless oars for good and let the flow take me away. The flow is more powerful anyways. I spend days planning to do just that before I realize I’ve not let go of the oars even once. No matter how intimately I’m bound to the river, I hate it too much to let it take control.
I must row my own boat forever, if such a thing as ‘forever’ exists. And if I am to be relieved of it all, I believe I wouldn’t be able to record it to let you know of it. You must keep rowing till then, just like me, and find out for yourself…