Rivers Flow Below Our Feet

Go as a River ~Thich Nhat Hanh

frog woman rock rapid ~d nelson

frog woman rock rapid ~d nelson

Nearly forever this rushing river
has carved its winding route
from California mountains to the sea.

Freely offering her playfully fresh, life-sustaining water
to all living beings; animal, plant and human
who presented themselves before her current.

fish monitor floaters ~d nelson

fish monitor floaters ~d nelson

Up until these modern times
wild salmon swam upstream to spawn,
sustaining many beings which flourished in this ecosystem.

Over-fishing, dams & destruction of habitat
has rubbed out the once vast salmon population.
So-called Aggregate (mining) companies have claimed river rocks,
taking them for free, dredging & altering river’s course.

Even during drought, dam’s releases
are demanded by the vineyards, orchards & others
prosperingΒ along the river,
who pay nothing for this water.

Walking through my town or on
San Francisco bay area streets, sidewalks or bridges
I feel the rushing river below my feet
which wasΒ crushed into concrete.

calmly rushing river

calmly rushing river

In traffic’s roar I hear a drum beat
faintly expressing salmon’s vow
to again return when conditions allow
many, many years from now.



86 thoughts on “Rivers Flow Below Our Feet

  1. Sonnische

    Oh, the beauty of the river and how sad I feel realizing the salmon cannot make their annual trip home because of the looting of the land by greedy industry.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      smiles to you, Sunny
      for your compassionate understanding
      that the foundation below our feet
      has come at a high cost!
      May we continue cultivating
      our reverence for all life πŸ™‚

  2. JC

    I remember seeing a documentary on this river and the Salmon which were displaced. The horror we do to the earth and our fellow inhabitance of this world, I can’t understand.

  3. Sue Dreamwalker

    A poignant reminder David of how our progression into a concrete world has been at the expense of Nature.. I hope those Salmon once again swim up river.. Thank you for sharing these lovely photo’s and for the words you weaved in-between them. .. I enjoyed travelling along this River of Life and for taking me along with you..
    blessings Sue

    1. smilecalm Post author

      this river’s story
      is the story of many rivers.
      thank you Sue
      for being in touch
      with river of life’s refreshing,
      restorative water’s of hope.

  4. IreneDesign2011

    Beautiful post πŸ™‚
    Humans should be the most intelligent animal at our earth, but many don’t understand how important it is, that all living beings are allowed with same right here.

  5. Healing Grief

    A beautiful flow of information David that we should all be made aware of. I too hope the river returns one day when the conditions change. Sadly, I don’t think we are working towards that. 🚣🏼

  6. Alison and Don

    So sad what we do without thought for consequences
    So sad the rulers of fear and greed
    So sad for for our unconscious stumbling ways
    So confident we will all wake up one day
    So buoyed by your beautiful photographs

  7. Annika Perry

    Sad quiet thoughts on how man’s greed and thoughtlessness affects everything around us – I hope the salmons’ vow will become reality at some point! Lovely photos and canoeing on the water looks fun!

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for skillfully
      paddling along, Annika!
      everything changes for a reason
      and I’m glad we’re doing our best
      to help the boat stay off the rocks πŸ™‚

  8. Sarah

    Mankind can be foolish, cruel and unthinking but nature adapts if we don’t move too fast. Let us hope that the salmon have had time to find new places to spawn.

  9. AmyRose🌹

    How sad what “progress” has done to Mother. Will there be a time ever when man learns how to harmoniously coexist with Her? LOVE the shot of the fish you captured. Stunning shot, David. This entire post once again brought such Peace and nostalgia to the forefront. Thank you. ❀

    1. smilecalm Post author

      smiling to your empathetic heart, Amy!
      i’m happy you liked it. i decided to use my waterproof pocket camera, rather than my 6d, for that shot. nice how those fish posed πŸ™‚

    1. smilecalm Post author

      makes me happy knowing you are kindly
      floating along with river of life at the same time as I, nia! wishing you and your animal friends a happy, peaceful day πŸ™‚

  10. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    “Progress,” my father used to say under his breath, mad. He knew even back in the 50s as concrete covered more of our blessed planet. Water is precious and people take it for granted. I long for how things were before we came. It is despicable what we do to our precious Mother’s blood.
    I feel such heaviness in my heart for Her waters. Thank you David.
    Peace and natural flow of waters

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for sharing your deep, inherited love & sorrow for humankind’s failure to recognize their essential connection to everything natural, Mary. may you feel communion with new expressions of nature that sparkle in today’s sunlight πŸ™‚

  11. Michael

    Loved your closing, David, and the idea that the salmon will return when conditions allow. That they are waiting even now, at the ready… There is a great deal of hope in this knowledge. The possibility of working together to create a world of peace and connection.


    1. smilecalm Post author

      makes me smile feeling our
      floating in chilly currents together
      has its place , however
      big or small,
      in the glorious
      continuation of nature, Michael πŸ™‚

  12. Dennis the Vizsla

    hello smilecalm its dennis the vizsla dog hay i wish peepul wood leev enuf water for the salmon they wer heer first!!! that kayak trip luks verry relaksing eksept for the rappids part wot luks rather uhhh rappid i mite git owt and wawk thru that stretch!!! ok bye

  13. Genie

    When people destroy most life forms on earth, the nuclear power sites and their holding tanks along with nuclear dump sites, will explode into multiple atomic bombs because it takes continuous cooling of the radioactive water to stop the sites from exploded even now.
    Along with that, all the dams will break, because most people are not aware of th fact that, dams need continuous repair in order to not break even now, this includes dams that have been built recently.
    Two of the thousands of consequences that man has brought upon himself and the good earth, and I do mean man, because it wasn’t women that chose this path of destruction.

    This reminds me of the poem by Robert Frost: To hear us talk

    The tree the tempest with a crash of wood
    Throws down in front of us is not to bar
    Our passage to our journey’s end for good,
    But just to ask us who we think we are

    Insisting always on our own way so.
    She likes to halt us in our runner tracks,
    And make us get down in a foot of snow
    Debating what to do without an ax.

    And yet she knows obstruction is in vain:
    We will not be put off the final goal
    We have it hidden in us to attain,
    Not though we have to seize earth by the pole

    And, tired of aimless circling in one place,
    Steer straight off after something into space.

    β€” Robert Frost

    1. smilecalm Post author

      touching response, dear poetess!
      yes, men at fault then, here & now.
      i fully support women taking full control, especially
      after those nuclear explosions, dam bursts and other cataclysmic events’, when enough geological time has passed and earth’s destruction has healed, nature is rejuvenated and redwoods and salmon again thrive, living free. πŸ™‚

  14. Jet Eliot

    It is unfortunate that our species is growing so rapidly that the earth is overwhelmed in many places. Fortunately, there are many people who are working to heal the waters and air, clear the sedimentation, and bring back the salmon runs. Your post is a wonderful reminder of the profound importance of our rivers, David — thanks so much.

  15. susanenholm32

    So much to see on your river, David. Tucson has dry rivers – they only flow, of course, when we have heavy rains. Fun places explore on foot and see wildlife. Bats live under the bridges.

  16. harulawordsthatserve

    A very powerful and poignant post. The juxtaposition of stunning images of beautiful scenery with industry and habitation makes a indisputable point, and that final stanza brought tears to my eyes. Wonderful post my friend, and I trust you enjoyed your journey along the river – it certainly looks like you all had fun. Love and blessings, Harula xxx

  17. M.C. Infinite

    That was marvelously putπŸ‘ It was so true in the way that yeah, up until modern times our world was outstanding beautiful, lush with life, and filled with color. The river was known in many part of the world in ancient times as something that brings life, something to be valued and (in some countries) even worshipped and feared. A river can be gentle and kind, but at times ferocious and intimidating. But more then that, it is water. Something many of us do not value as highly as we should. I feel we take advantage of the luxury of having water readily available and clean to boot. Maybe that’s why we don’t take to heart the damage we are creating and have been for heaven knows how long. You writing contains a lot of value and reminders that many of us need. due to that our awareness of the signs gets pushed far into the back corners of our subconscious. It amazing how each work posted is like an art. By far the last photo of the river was spectacular. But the one of the three kayaking with the shot taken partly in the water was that really captured the paragraph above it stating how the river offers itself to all, sharing its fresh flowing currents to plants, animals, and humans. Another outstanding workπŸ˜πŸ‘


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