Rapids. There’s sound, that deep roaring pounding, like a low gargle, magnified in intensity by the depth of the canyon and the reverberation between the walls. There’s swiveling of heads as all aboard turn to see what lies ahead. Will it be a merry riffle which picks up the bow of the boat and plunks it smartly back into the water, playing the same game with the stern, giving the passengers a teeter totter ride with fluidity? Or will it be the thunderous kind – the ones that even seasoned river guides pull off to scout before going through? As the boat approaches the smooth lip and falls onto the tongue, passengers grasp to make sure their handholds are secure, guides strain at the oars, hoping their combination of strength, knowledge and effort will get the boat through without flipping or losing anyone. Is this the kind where the boat enters kicking and screaming as if against its will, as the waves tower up and over the boat, the passengers wearing an expression that’s a combination of exhilaration and shock? Your eyes play tricks because you can see the place where the river continues below, but you can’t see what lies between – except for the occasional jumping whitecap that gives you the clue that this one is really wild.
How like our lives is this river. We know for sure what the present looks like, and we think we know what the future will hold. But – what lies between? How do we get there? What will the ride be like? Will we ourselves fall out? Will we lose some possessions? Or lose someone important to us? And – if any of these things do occur, we STILL have to keep going downriver.