River of Life

Two people wearing helmets, one smiling, with a swirl of white and green water behind them

The River of Life is something that we all ride, whether we want to or not.

Unlike my recent visit to the Kern River Valley, where I voluntarily CHOSE to take a whitewater river rafting excursion. (Jimmy and the crew at Mountain River Adventures rock!)

River of Life is also a great song by my friends Ché Zuro and Tisa Adamson, one that’s been a big favorite since I first heard it in, welp, a while ago. (Buy it here, on Rivers & Rain, or Soak.)

And I’m riding down this river, 
Riding down the River of Life. 
There’s a mystery at every turn that keeps me alive. 
And even though the water’s cold….. 

I keep riding, riding, riding (to the next stop) 
Riding riding, riding down the River of Life.

Saying Yes! to life, and adventure.

Buckets of ice cold water will hit you in the face, splash all over you. Leak in at your feet where you’re not expecting.

And that’s much like my life has been, lately. I have been struggling with some of the side effects of the damn Tamoxifen. I had an abnormal mammogram in May, followed by a biopsy, followed by what seemed like an eternity waiting for the results.

Which were benign. Sploosh!

So, this ride down the River of Life…

My friend Kathy ended her ride in April. My friend Steve, died of bone cancer a couple of weeks ago. One friend is just beginning her cancer journey, and one is in hospice has just passed away. Another friend lost her young son suddenly. Yet another took her own life. I feel heartsick, and have more than a little bit of survivors’ guilt. Why am I still surviving, and often enjoying life, if with a somewhat heavy heart?

I keep riding, riding, riding (to the next stop) 
Riding riding, riding down the River of Life.

But what else are we going to do? Unlike my trip with Mountain River Adventures on the Upper Kern, on the River of Life, there is only one, final stop. We’re going to laugh, cry, rejoice, grieve, and sometimes, feel a bit numb.

I’m glad there are so many people in my life that I love. I understand, in my head, that the more people we know and love, the more people we will lose, to death, broken friendships or relationships. But in my heart

Man, it’s hard sometimes.

One long time friendship I am blessed that continues, is with songwriters Ché Zuro and Tisa Adamson. They performed a full set, accompanied by Randy Ray Mitchell, at Old Oak Cellars in Pasadena in July.

Including the theme song for this post, and much of my life, River of Life.

Where has the River of Life been taking you, lately?

4 Replies to “River of Life”

  1. I LOVED this! It’s so hard to watch others reach their destination far ahead of where WE would have them do it.
    My river of life has been hurtling headlong through kids, grandkids, teaching, writing, publishing, dog training and serving. Tried to come up for air during the summer. Gulp!
    Now it seems to be rushing, rushing, rushing toward the fall. Just for one day, I’d like to stop and catch my breath.
    Nope. Kids. Grandkids, teaching, writing…

  2. Beautiful. Time on the water is what I look to for for peace and to be present in the moment. Whitewater’s especially demanding of your presence – your mind just can’t be wandering off among life’s other concerns!

    I’m so sorry about all your losses.

    I’m so glad your biopsy was negative. Breast cancer is so survivable these days, but ugh, it’s a rotten thing to go through.

    I’ve lost a few friends too young in the last few years too and I do sometimes think – would I have traded places with them? They had spouses, children, why did they get taken when they had people relying on them like that…

    But then I don’t think any of them would have wanted me thinking that way. And I still think about the paddlers among them every time I go out on the bay.

    1. I know *part* of the issue with cancer is, we’re living longer. If you died in childbirth in your twenties, you didn’t live long enough to get breast cancer. And I suspect environmental pollutants have something to do with it, as well.

      And thank you, it is somewhat overwhelming when so many people pass in a short time, but I am grateful to have known and loved them, so there’s that.

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