PATHOS (Collaboration with Richard Douglas): The River

Pathos is a collection of short stories featuring photographs by Richard Douglas and writings from select journalists, poets and authors. The aim is to seek a deeper understanding of life's issues in order to gain peace and an understanding of self. 

Photos: Richard Douglas
Words: Kendra Leigh 

The River

By all accounts, my life was starting over.  I was on a journey I had no plans of taking without a map or compass to guide me. For the first time in years, I was alone. And the silence was deafening. 

In my hours of solitude I found myself drawn to the river. It was the only place in the world that my soul could rest. Perhaps it was the sound of the water patting the riverbanks mixed with the muted tones that put my heart at ease. But I think it was much more than that. 

I could bury my feet in the mud and feel the depths of the water. Feeling. Feeling felt almost foreign to me in this place of indifference where I had been drowning my emotions in false happiness and whiskey. But at the river, I could feel. The mud squishing my toes apart and the wind breezing over my misted face. 

The sounds of cicadas whirring in the grass and other animals scampering in the distance combined in perfect harmony with the water. At the river, I could hear. Hearing. Hearing to me had been masked with a chorus of static as I received the same empty condolences from coffee shop acquaintances to my paid therapist. “I’m sorry to hear that.” “It will get better.” “Time heals all wounds.” It’s like the shitty broken records you’d make me listen to on repeat. But at the river, I could hear.

And sunset? Sunset at the river was my favorite sight. The pink glow of dusk danced on tops of the cloudy blues illustrating every pleasant dream I could possibly recall.

Feeling; Hearing; Seeing; Dreaming. The river heightened my senses and my nerves were on edge at its banks. 

This is why I came to the river. To allow myself to experience the truth of my journey. To truly feel alive.