I stand on the rock jetty with the mighty Columbia River on my left side and the Pacific Ocean on the right. This is where they meet. Where their separateness joins. The meeting of the waves is fierce as the surge of the river encounters the power of the ocean. There is a life metaphor here.
The river side seems calm compared to the ocean waves. Yet its power is there, submerged beneath the surface. A whale spouts. A fishing boat moves along. Seals pop up.
Underneath the surface, just before the river heads out to sea, are sand bars; sediment built up from the bottom. The bars are treacherous. Boats, incoming from the ocean, must navigate them in particular ways to stay safe. This area is known worldwide as the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” Over 2000 large ships have sunk here since 1792. There are many secrets at the bottom of this river. Unfulfilled dreams.
Looking to the other side of the jetty, the ocean waves seem soothing. Moving to the rhythm of the moon, they swell, bathe the sand and return to their depths. I take comfort in the repetition; reassurance in a chaotic world.
But, when the waves encounter the jetty, they protest the barrier stopping their surge. Hitting hard against the rocks, their chaotic spray rises to splash over the rocks above.
At the end of the jetty, the ocean waves meet the river surge and a joining occurs. Sometimes it generates large clashes of waves. At other times, the strength of the encounter does not show as much on the surface. Yet, underneath, both bodies of water are being transformed. A new creation emerges.
Rivers and oceans surge within each of us, bringing both the nurturing waves of life and heavy buried sediments of our disappointments and grief. Steady rhythms and interruptions of chaos.
Our inner waters are always seeking places to flow. To heal. To transform.
We often create a jetty to keep parts of ourselves separate or to reign in wild waters. Because it feels safer. Because someone told us to hide parts of ourselves. Or said to not make waves or create strong currents that challenge the status quo.
It takes fierceness to claim who we are, how we look, who we love, what we believe. We risk crossing sand bars of old sediment to allow a meeting of the parts of ourselves we have segmented. Clashes are inevitable and they are not the final determinate of a life. They are a way towards freedom.