I spent years away from home, away from Iowa. While living far away, the Mississippi river, which is only 15 or 20 minutes from my home in Iowa became a symbol in my mind of where I had come from. When I finished Seminary, I came home and had difficulty finding a job...so I started temping to pay the bills...
For the better part of a year, I worked as a supply courier for a bank. One of the things I really enjoyed about that job was crossing the Mississippi River several times every day as I went through my route.
I loved looking at the river as I drove over the bridges. The water never looked the same twice in one day. Sometimes it would be bright blue, reflecting the color of the sky. Sometimes on the same day, with that same blue sky, the water would be a slick, oily gray or even a flinty black (which is why, I suppose the Mississippi is sometimes referred to as "dark water").
One winter day, snow was on the ground and the river had large pieces of ice floating down stream...I think the technical term is "ice floats".
Against the black water, the large ice floats looked like beef fat floating in the surface of a pot of greasy water.
Another day, early in the morning it was so cold that the water looked like like smoke was rising up out of it...The ethereal effect was magnified by the pink color the river stole from the sunrise.
My time in Iowa has been rocky at best. I want nothing more than to get back into ministry, to be a chaplain again. It's lovely living near my family, to be back near my river -- but life beyond the river beckons again. It is time to find a new symbol for my life, time to find other beautiful things to admire...