By the River

02022-02-27 | Uncategorized | 7 comments

It’s a half hour before sunset and I am sitting on a bench less than a hundred feet from the river. I can hear the waves lap against the stone of the shoreline. The sun edges closer to the horizon and I remember the many times I sat next to the Rhine in the late afternoon, fascinated by the waves. Like now, I could hear cries of seagulls amidst a cool breeze from the river. Maybe I was thinking about the river in the book Siddhartha then, and the wisdom of the ferryman.

Another motorboat passes, its engine and music drowning out the waves. The unpleasant noise-trail can’t disappear soon enough. Then the boat is gone and as the waves slowly calm down I can feel myself mirroring them and relaxing. My heartbeat drops and my breathing slows. The sun dips below the tree line and leaves a peach colored glow in its wake. As the sun disappears, the temperature goes down as well. For a little while, it feels like the inside and the outside of my skin are the same temperature and the border between me and the world disappears. And it’s strange because the outside temperature is nothing close to body temperatures but still it feels like the membrane is gone – no longer necessary. For a few minutes I become the world – then the outside temperature drops and the illusion dissolves.

Now, the calls of a pair of peacocks across the river reach me. Are they talking to each other or yelling at a motorboat? I am inclined to believe the latter.


  1. anne

    Thank-you for sharing this with us. So beautiful.

    • anne

      peacook- …argos of a thousand eyes- a guardian energy

  2. JaneParhamKatz

    Dearest Ottmar, this is a romantic poem. I felt all you described by the river. Your reference to the Rhine filled me with saudade. You are beauty and love.

  3. Luna

    Such a peaceful feeling and visualization I get….hmmmm. Thank you so much.

    …I picture the Willamette, in Oregon, listening to this.

  4. Nancy

    I love this description – so poetic. It paints a beautiful mental picture.

    I know what you mean about the boats. I live on the ocean and I love the peacefulness of the ocean at night. The waves lapping on the shore lull me to sleep. I anxiously await the passing of a boat which disturbs the rhythm. Something about being near the water soothes the soul. Sunset is my favorite time of day and I am always amazed how each one is a little different.

  5. Steve

    Ottmar … you might enjoy the movie, “They Say Nothing Stays The Same” … its about a boatman during Meiji-era Japan. Personally, I really enjoyed it.

    Your story about the river got me thinking about this movie and the river in the movie which actually becomes an additional character in the movie. Akira Emoto does a great job as Toichi the boatman. Has a lot of “environmentalist” (for want of a better term) themes within the main plot line.

    • ottmar

      Thanks for the tip, Steve. Will watch the movie tonight.


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