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March 2006, vol 2 no 1

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Mike James

Once,

on a trip to the Appalachian Mountains, I had the occasion to sit alone on the banks of the Tuckaseegee River. In the midst of lush green hills, the river cut a lazy path down the mountain, but to where, I still do not know. For many hours I sat in silent conversation with the excited waters as they rushed onward to their destination. After a while, thinking to chase me away, the river decided to tell me its secrets. In a tumble of phrases that overlapped like currents, I could hear it saying softly, "Keep moving forward, never going back" and "You can never pass over the same stone twice" and "Stagnation leads to death, keep flowing and live!" So overwhelming was the din of the chatter, that I had to draw away from the suddenly one-sided conversation, leaving the river to talk to the patient trees.

the tallest mountain
cannot hold back the river—
summer lake

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