The river

Over two thousand years ago, poet and satirist Horace said, “He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.”

Sometimes I feel like that rustic, putting off a crossing while life flows on. And then one day, with sudden awareness, I find that I can no longer cross the river with the same ease and confidence as formerly. Or the river has changed course and the opposite shore is strange and unfamiliar.

Our life flows on, like a river, sometimes placid, sometimes dramatic but, oh, so inexorably. Looking back, I remember the times when I approached the shore, contemplating a crossing, and then put it off. A storm was approaching or had recently passed. There were things undone that seemed important to do before I made that journey. There were so many people competing for the same space on the vessel that I turned away, unwilling to push my way on board. Or perhaps I was fearful, apprehensive, or just plain lazy.

There is, I suppose, no ideal time to make a river crossing. Seasonal disturbances come and go and the water is always dangerous, to a greater or lesser degree. The only sure thing is that tomorrow it will alter its character once again.

The invitation, the beckoning call of change and opportunity, lies across a divide that we navigate at our peril – knowing, however, how much we might lose if we’re left behind.

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