“I want to take you on a journey,” she whispers, motioning from the boat.
“But where are you taking me?” I ask hesitantly, eyeing this woman’s dark tattered clothes, her loosely braided gray hair, and the bone beads jangling on her chest.
“Why have you come to the river?” she asks.
I am annoyed that she answers my question with one of her own.
“I came for refreshment.”
“You have come to be renewed,” she corrects me. Her hand wraps around a rope on the bank of the river. Her grip is steady, patient. I realize I won’t be able to decline the invitation. I could turn away from the river—temporarily. Eventually the river would come to reclaim everything: my home, my possessions, my life, my soul.
I step into the boat and sit on the wooden seat of the bow. I want to face the river, to see what is ahead, but even more I am fascinated with this woman, so I sit facing her. I watch the way she deftly throws the rope into the boat. I observe how she digs an oar into the sand at the river’s edge and pushes the boat from shore. Her muscular arms surprise me.
Every movement belies her intimate knowledge of this stretch of the river. I watch her eyebrows lift slightly in anticipation of a rapid; she instinctively digs an oar into the current to round a bend. Every muscle moves with precision, guided by familiarity and . . . .
What? I pause, scrying her face, her thin-skinned, blue-veined hands. She moves with patience and weighted wisdom. Yes, wisdom I realize. She moves with the certainty of someone who has traveled this path many times. She reminds me of the elderly woman who has tended children all her life and can anticipate each developmental stage of an infant, a toddler, a preschooler. Her charges, though, are much older. This is the child’s development in reverse.
The revelation startles me. The baby accrues life, gathering the bulk of flesh and experience around itself. I am dropping all this is extraneous. This is aging in reverse. I am entering the infancy of cronehood.
Suddenly, in her presence, I feel young and protected. My thigh muscles relax a bit against the wooden seat. I can shift my gaze to the banks of the river and appreciate the scent of pine trees and patterns of river rock strewn in the currents. Yes, this will be a journey, I decide. Yes, this River Woman knows the currents. She will be my guide. My shoulders recede from my ears. Yes, I decide. I can trust her.
-Prelude of Dr. Boice’s award-winning book Menopause with Science and Soul.
Dr. Judith Boice is an award-winning author, naturopathic physician and acupuncturist, who has a passion for sharing her wisdom gleaned from 40 years of working with Green Medicine™.
Dr. Boice will be doing a free webinar on the holistic approach to menopause with Medicine Talk on Saturday, March 5th 2016 at 10 AM CST. Everyone is welcome to join us! You can get more info about the talk and register by clicking the button below.