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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Aron Rothstein


Our first house in Oregon was on three acres at the confluence of Five Rivers and Cougar Creek. On a knob just above the convergence, the river to the right, the creek to the left, we put a bench. Summer evenings raccoons sat on the rocks mid-stream catching crayfish; beavers swam lazily, hauling out to browse the willows along the bank. The hill had an aura, a stillness of spirit felt on that one spot; a powerful place.

When my mother's final affairs had been dealt with, I returned home to the confluence. In the evening I'd sit above it, wrapped in a blanket and my grief, the Grateful Dead's Broke-down Palace running through my mind.

burial ground
below the hill
the river's flow

Later that year we moved to forty acres in the woods. The new place has a creek and a pond, but nowhere the power of that spot. Closer to the ocean, it is a place of fog and brume. Often, morning walks are mantled; ground fog, hill fog, valley fog, sea fog, freezing fog – through the seasons, softening the edges of dawn, blurring the firs, muting the creek. Now still and heavy, now flowing – the ether shifting and alive.

my mother walks with me
eddies in the mist

Though I no longer hear the river's song, the stillness and the flow at that confluence are with me in the morning fog. In time, the rising sun burns through, unveiling the bright world, unwrapping the pall.

clipping broken threads
a yahrzeit passes
without a candle