Listen To The River

So it's almost the end of January.... 

The promise of spring beckons.  Lent is not far away. New birth, new life awaits.
In the liturgical cycle of the Gospels at Mass, the healing, liberating ministry of Jesus has already begun; some disciples have been called and the fishing of men ( and women) is underway. 

Today I'm looking ahead in anticipation and the coming 40 days of Lent, so the post reflects that in some ways...the metaphor of surfacing , diving and resurfacing, the early signs of spring and hopes new opening, roots being mined for nutrients for the long journey ahead to Summer, the work needed for renewal and new growth in ourselves and others, individually and in community.

                                                                           Image source Painting :The Storyteller Michael Manalo

So here in the "net gatherings" from the early fishing season lie some food for reflection....................

The song Listen To The River sung by Luka Bloom with some photos of Donegal where my father came from brings back memories of many wonderful childhood holidays. 

(Barley Harbour mentioned in the the song is in County Longford,not Donegal)

"Close your eyes, listen to the river, open your heart now......." I love this song : the imaginative leap of the salmon as it returns to its source for spawning; regeneration, renewal of baptismal vows, the cycle of the seasons and the message of the Gospel calling to the deepest parts of our soul, asking for a response and change.

Is the salmon of knowledge our own story, our own journey and perhaps a metaphor of Christ too ?


The fisherman used to dive into running water
And take a shining sixpence from the floor
Now he's waiting for the Salmon of Knowledge
To help him wade out from the shore

He looks down on the lake on a sunlit morning

Loves the ancient world that is within
The surface shadow is his simple warning
Transformation must begin

Close your eyes
Listen to the river
Open your heart now
Listen to the river
Close your eyes
Listen to the river

The rain pours down on Barley Harbour

As expectation fills the pier
The fisherman looks out on the horizon
The Salmon of Knowledge is coming here

Let the bells ring out in the heartland

Let all the poets come to pen
May they write in praise of celebration
The salmon goes upstream once again

Close your eyes

Listen to the river
Open your heart now
Listen to the river
Close your eyes
Listen to the river...

In The Belly of The Whale by Victor Jaquier from here

We must go inside the belly of the whale for a while.  Then and only then will we be spit  upon a new shore and understand our call.”

Painting Breathing Under Water from here

Learning to Breathe Underwater

And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbours.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
…but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.

And then one day,

-and I still don’t know how it happened
the sea came.

Without warning.

Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.

And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.

And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.

And I knew, then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbours,
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbours,
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.

- Carol Bieleck, RSCJ

Through The Landslip Phil Bowman from here

The Slip
Wendell Berry

The river takes the land, and leaves nothing.
Where the great slip gave way in the bank
and an acre disappeared, all human plans
dissolve. An awful clarification occurs
where a place was.

Its memory breaks
from what is known now, begins to drift.
Where cattle grazed and trees stood, emptiness
widens the air for birdflight, wind, and rain.

As before the beginning, nothing is there.
Human wrong is in the cause, human
ruin in the effect—but no matter;
all will be lost, no matter the reason.

Nothing, having arrived, will stay.
The earth, even, is like a flower, so soon
passeth it away. And yet this nothi
is the seed of all—the clear eye
of Heaven, where all the worlds appear.

Where the imperfect has departed, the perfect
begins its struggle to return. The good gift
begins again its descent. The maker moves
in the unmade, stirring the water until
it clouds, dark beneath the surface,

stirring and darkening the soul until pain
perceives new possibility. There is nothing
to do but learn and wait, return to work
on what remains. Seed will sprout in the scar.
Though death is in the healing, it will heal.

The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, Counterpoint, 1999.

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