Here’s a fun fact: even before I knew that druidry was a thing in 2014, I had a strained relationship to our local river.
I grew up in a town on the Susquehanna river in the U.S. I met my wife here in Dresden, Germany, on the Elbe river. There’s something nice, maybe even better about a town on a river.
Then I was ready to leave Dresden. And my wife wasn’t. And the reason she gave was that she didn’t want to leave the river.
I’ve since come to understand that she was trying to express something more complicated. A rootedness, in the town, her family and her network that I simply don’t have. Not in the U.S., not here. At the time, though, it just made me resent the river. After all, I was me and the river was so many thousand cubic meters of water. How could she say a thing like that?
Since then, I’ve begun down this path towards druidry. (This path of druidry? I’m not sure of the word choice right there.) And, with it, I’ve started approaching the idea of there being a river spirit. And that I might need to re-approach my relationship to the river.
It wasn’t deliberate. In fact, I didn’t even think about the river until I went on a run through several of my favorite green areas in Dresden. (One of my favorite things about Dresden: it’s a very green city.) This took me by the river, which has a flood plain here in Dresden which has been left as a meadow and is great for running through. And it struck me, running next to the river, that I should try to make my peace with it.
I’m trying. It’s easy to say ‘fresh start,’ but it’s impossible to know how the river feels about the whole thing. I can say — will in another post — that I have felt it start helping me in my day-to-day, but I still don’t have the affinity for it that I have for trees, for the wooded areas in the area.
Never before in my life have I realized that I was disliking as an object something — someone — that I should have been approaching as at least an equal. Re-examining my relationship like this is new to me, though I suppose it’s something I’ll get better with time. After all, I should also start re-examining how I feel about winter.