11 hours ago
Sunday, January 26, 2014
The Woman, The River, The Sand
The woman, however, quickly discovered that she rather enjoyed being a river. It was never boring and all day and all night she was singing and moving and going places. All she had to do was shake her hair and all sorts of interesting things happened. Sometimes --often, actually-- she saw faces and heard voices, and some of these were familiar to her from her days as a sad and beautiful woman. As a river she had the marvelous gift of being in many places at the same time. She traveled again and again, ceaselessly, past the little town where she had grown up and lived her entire life. Nothing there seemed to have changed since she had been turned into a river.
She heard the happy laughter of children, the voices of fishermen, and the women who gathered in the shallows to thrash their laundry on the rocks. Everyone seemed happy. It was possible, she realized, that the people she had once known loved her more as a river than they had as a woman. She herself had never been very happy in that place and had always felt that she was a burden to her old mother, whose own life had been a constant trial since the gods had turned her husband into a serpent for cursing the wind.
Every day the woman who had been turned into a river felt more and more delighted by her existence as moving water. She had never been so free as a human, and often had occasion to wish that she had affronted the gods much earlier than she had. It was liberating to have no bones, and no appetite for anything but grace, transition, and transformation. She did, though, love the rain, and looked forward to the quiet and endlessly fascinating changes that winter brought. Any displeasing trespass she was capable of disgorging with relative ease, but many pleasing things also, of course, found their way into the river, and these things she collected, treasured, puzzled over, and dispensed as gifts and surprises to favored visitors.
At some point, however, the gods recognized that their punishment had been received as a reward, and their response was swift and merciless. Jove ordered the river's desiccation, and the once moving water became an arid trench, and the woman was turned to sand.