The land had begun undivided, millions of years ago. It was one.
Then the river formed as a trickle from a spilling pool. It slipped over an edge and began, unnoticed, to portion the land in twain.
And the river broadened and deepened as time passed.
The millenia passed, the land grew accustomed to its river frontages. On either bank it slowly changed; differently on each bank; but together; as a consequence of the river that flowed between it.
On both sides, springs welling up from deep under the land, and runoffs and sources were guided towards the great flow that now divided and joined the land. Thus each side nourished the river and made it broader and deeper.
And too, the river nourished the land on either side. When the great floods would come it would spill over the land on both sides, depositing new depths of fertile soil that was rich in new elements. The river would bring renewal across the land.
Blessed by these gifts, each side grew richer and more bountiful. Each year, each bloomed in new ways, because of the river between them.
And, in the river, smaller currents and eddies formed, eternally changing, influenced by the rocks, the shallow flats and the steep sides of the banks along both sides. These in turn nurtured life in a myriad of new forms; life that the land had not known before the river came. And this life produced more nutrients and these nourished the land on either side.
And as the river flowed and changed, so the land beyond each bank continued to change too. It changed in size, in shape and even the things upon the land changed and grew differently.
In time, the land beyond each bank began to be quite different to what it had been. And the land upon the left bank no longer exactly resembled the land upon the right bank. Nevertheless, each became what the river between them had enabled of them. The river became unimaginably important to each and to both. And neither could imagine what lay in the future before each and before both.
One day an idea began to form upon the land beyond one of the banks. “I have become so rich and so plentiful by the fruits of my soil, what if I could increase my bounty from the river?”
And the idea yielded a plan and the plan was to place a dam in the river.
On the other side of the river, beyond the bank, the idea was observed from afar. However, because the river had only brought harvest to the land and was only good, the land on this side did not foresee how the idea would bring sadness. And so the dam was built.
Behind the dam wall, the river slowed. Beyond it, the great river now trickled as a drain. The little currents and eddies had ceased to tumble. The nutrients did not arrive. The life in the river left. The great tides ceased and the rich generous floods no longer arrived.
Beyond the bank, on the side that witnessed, a great sadness began to be born but it did not know what to do. The river was not its own to protect and to make thrive. With the most pure desire it could not, by itself, make the river flow once more.
Slowly, behind the dam wall, the river silted up some more and some more. Beyond each bank the land separately began to adapt and change.
Where the idea had first gone up, new ideas began to scramble out of the drying land. The land began to imagine itself glorified eternally with grand buildings, great parks, broad avenues and marvellous machines. Those things that would remain in the parched wasteland after it had withered, would be remembered as wonders, inspired by the vision and the achievements of the land.
And on the other side, sorrowfully aware its river was now all but dead, alone and left upon itself, the land drew up its verdant river side pastures. It left them dry and sterile and unattractive. It gathered up its seeds and carried them to a tall mountain peak on its far side and there it called upon the High Wind.
And the High Wind rose up upon its broad wings and it came and it carried the seeds far, far, far, to a time after the memories of all those things had been forgotten.
© Bog O’Mullet 2010