Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Everlasting Rhine

Part of my daily traverse on the way to pick up the kids from school leads me over the Rhine River. Some days I cross it preoccupied with the latest irritation or giggle, hardly even noticing the rushing of the waters under the bridge. Other days I laugh at the screaming swirling seagulls whose cries remind me of wailing babies, or I try to guess which people loitering on the bridge are tourists and from whence they came.

Mostly, I am overwhelmed when I see it. Thinking of the poets and philosophers who have sat at its edge, perhaps dipping their toes into the water, gives me a chill. I wonder what the Romans thought when they encountered it?

Today when I crossed over the Mittelbruck, the waters were rushing because of melting snow from the Alps. Every molecule of water in that ancient raging river was new. Never before had that drop followed the same path—dripping from an icicle on the peak of a mountain, trailing over frosty rocks to join its brothers in a trickling stream, cold and gurgling, until it grew and spread and rushed and roared, becoming a source of life and poetry and industry. The Rhine is a thing of beauty and power and danger. It is eternal and ever new.