River Time

All of you children-
our children-
it's river time
and for us high noon,
the sun so full in your faces,
we cannot recall when we laid down the oars
and you took them in hand.

But it is you now sporting in the water,
scouting the rapids, and caring for us.

We look back upstream,
and remember morning on the river,
waking from our night of wild love.
Understand, as best you can,
that wild love becoming you,
and we, with you in our arms,
singing our way down the river, 
morning moving toward noon.

Now you fall in love,
have children of your own,
and compose verses of new song.

We look down river
and see the mountains of tall pine
eclipsing the westward descending sun.
Shadows shroud the canyon,
and not too near, but neither too distant,
this river for us bends out of sight.

Tomorrow we are ferried high and away,
still watching, you must be sure,
the sun ascending toward another noon,
and you, oaring the current,
dreaming and strumming
your very own river time.

-Dale Griffith

(Author's Note: I wrote this poem while white-water rafting and kayaking the Main Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, August '05, with Yellow Jacket River Guides. Fortune would have it that half of the group, including clients and staff, were young people in their 20's & 30's. The other half were the older generation in their 50's & 60's. Among this meeting of the generations were three sets of parents and children. The poem celebrates the bonding between the two generations, on the river and beyond the river.)