Dragon In Winter
Over the summer an oak tree fell into the river and took the form of a dragon: a whiskered Chinese dragon, playful, amenable to our games. Even Dog clambered onto the ridged back and splashed back happy to the water. Storms came, in the autumn: an elemental surge, bigger than riverbanks. Under the squall and flood, the Oak Dragon disappeared, or the soul of it was freed, or both, we could not be sure.
Today was ice bright, impetuous. The river calls though the water has levelled down. Familiar rocks reappear. The bank edges are changed: soft sanded mud re-moulded, the drooping tree snapped. Dog swims in open water, where the Dragon had stood. Fast paced the water moves, unimpeded. Snatches of branch stick at the opposite bank, inside a shadow, a ghost-spot, a dark echo.
Downstream, revealed, the body of an oak, a former dragon: not dead: transformed. Progressed. Dog sniffles after ducks. Ducks hide in the old dragon's curves.
Across the winter crop fields a heron stretches wing. It flies across the sun and cannot be caught on camera.
A real life is not a spectacle, not a list of things owned or done. It is a process that happens in the interchange, in the engagement of experience. Knowing the worth of what you have known, of what you have now, without stagnating or clinging. One cannot halt the storm, nor unbreak the bough. Whatever happens, Dragon knows: a real life happens in flow.