Oxbow Flow

    When I think and talk about allowing life to flow, I often use the image of a river. Water moves along, bringing circumstances and relationships to us at the correct times, and offering obstacles when we are prepared to overcome them.
    Thinking of life and time as a flowing river helps to connect with the motion of life, the progress, and  the change that is constant in the Human Condition.
    Human lives, however, tend not to simply follow a direct or featureless line: life curves and curls, detours and returns. This movement creates new landscapes in physical reality, and in lived experience.
      I recently had the good fortune to fly over the state of Ohio during daylight. There was no cloud cover, and as I was transported through the blue sky, I could clearly see that the terrain below was stunning.
    Below me was the meandering path of the river identified on the seat-back map as the Mississippi. ** with features  that I had first understood in High School Geography classes. (Thank you, Mr Popple at NDSS).
    Most exciting were the oxbow lakes, which have, for some reason, always fascinated me.
    An oxbow lake is a crescent-shaped body of water formed when part of a meandering river is cut off. In Australia it is called a billabong, and oxbows left by the Rio Grande in Texas are called resacas.
    The Menderes or Maeander River in Turkey gave its name to the shifting river channels that cause rivers to take convoluted routes across the land. Sediments deposited by streams adjust their shapes according to the slope of the region, and pools form in in the bends.
    When a river winds across a plateau, it makes turns and twists to accommodate the geology and weather patterns. Spring run-off from higher areas will swell the volume: the river may become deeper or wider. Shallow areas with turbulent water flow are known as riffles, and they will wear away at the river bed below and the banks at the sides. The land will be changed by its passage.   
    When water follows a curve the flow is described as a vortex: the narrowest passage is impacted by the fastest moving water. This creates very specific erosion patterns, and eventually the river forges a direct route for itself, leaving the curve abandoned, a feature we call an oxbow lake.

Life Lakes
    When I was in my late teens, I moved from the coastal British Columbia city where my parents lived, to a small town in the province's interior. I remained there for more than seven years, and many of the things I learnt during my early twenties are part of who I am today. It was important that I be in that place, at that time.
    Three decades later, with the exception of my family, not one person remains who knew me then. There is no one with whom I can reminisce, no one else who connects me to that place. This is mostly caused by simple, distance-related disappearances. I have heard about some deaths, and I have received letters marked return to sender.
Moving On
    As I meander along the river of my life, there are many places I regard with gratitude. In some instances I am thankful for the lessons and positive influences I encountered. In other cases, I am profoundly glad that no one was able to post my antics on-line for the world to witness!
    I have left that town behind, like an oxbow lake: I no longer feel connected to it, even though it was an important part of my journey into Now.
    Where I am is exactly correct for today.

[pictured is an Alaskan river]
   I have  been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
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