Dec 23, 2012

Sweetwater by Javen Tanner


It has taken me a long time to get here. The circumstances are less than ideal: a believer in the age of reason.
I have driven from New York. Filthy and bloodshot,

I begin to cry before I even reach the bank. A bluebird dips in front of me and laughs, and I scold myself
for immediately turning him into my heart.

When I was a child I heard the story of a man who walked a thousand miles. He crossed the Mississippi, the Missouri, and others.

But when he came to this river––this small river–– exhausted and starving, the thought of crossing broke his will, and he sat on the bank and wept.

The Sweetwater got its name because of its potability in contrast with the many alkaline water sources along the Oregon Trail in Wyoming.

There are stories of travelers beating their animals away from poisonous waters, trying to keep them alive until they reached the Sweetwater.

It has taken me a long time to get here.
Beaten from other waters, I want to drink;
I want to cross. Instead, I kneel and throw my sobs up

where they mix with the bluebird’s song,
where my weeping joins the weeping of generations, saying: we follow the heart no matter how unreasonable

the journey. And for each of us there comes a time when we cannot cross the water, no matter how sweet the destination. But the heart flies over.

––Javen Tanner 

Sting & Honey  

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