“Moderation is commonly firm, and firmness is commonly successful.”
— Samuel Johnson
I like to imagine Dr. Johnson walking along the banks of a classic rapid-dominated river, letting it shape his life view — for that beautifully moderate river type is also the most stable of streams. It’s not easily degraded by rainstorms, drought, land development, or other environmental shifts. Take a look and see if you can pick out the defining characteristics of this resilient river. Each such trait hands us a profound metaphorical tip worth pondering:
- The edges incline gradually like an open-mouthed “U.”
- The water moves along nicely, yet it’s no raging torrent.
- During spring runoff, the water surface will get a bit wider but not spread out as far as most rivers. This kind of stream keeps extra flow right within its channel — just getting deeper — much more often than most streams.
- From a bird’s-eye view, the stream pattern has some curve to it though you wouldn’t call it “meandering.”
- The rapid-dominated river is neither calm nor savage, neither too much nor too little… okay you get it.
And here is a picture of Dr. Johnson that you can also study:As an advertisement for moderation, he may inadvertently promote..
“Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative.”
Aha! Haven’t we always suspected there’s more going on behind those intellectual glasses, just based on Nancy alone?
So what’s a stream to do?
Naturally, you don’t want to destabilize when confronted with life’s changes .. but is moderation the only strategy for success? Often your favorite immoderation really brings you alive. Indeed, it’s part of your original medicine, your unique mix of gifts and talents that only you can bring to this world.
Never fear. Some pretty fantastic rivers are famously immoderate and they have agreed to advise you. Send me an email or comment describing YOUR trademark excess. I’ll forward your letters to my favorite healthy-and-wild streams, then post their responses: real-world perspectives on how you can live the life resilient plus enhance everyone’s journey with your own delightful alternative to moderation.
(I won’t use your real name on the site. The rivers will demand it of course, but they know how to keep a secret.)
love love love this! i hope i’ve managed to get myself positioned as your very first commenter – perhaps that’s one of my little excesses (you and the rivers can ponder how this translates) 🙂
i, of course, adore your use of the word ponder and can’t wait to read more of the river’s meanderings. xoxo
I’m so glad you were my first:) And that you spotted your word — I thought of you as I typed it.
I know just the river who will thrill to be THE FIRST ponder-er of a reader immoderation!
Thank you buddy.
LOVE (not like) this, Betsy!
Leah, thank you tons. I only wish I could PAINT rivers… dare I guess your truly gorgeous leaves are on a stream? Maybe a pond? http://leahrenascence.blogspot.com/
Moderation in all things, including moderation.
love this! love you!
My greatest fear is of stagnation, which encourages me to flow quickly and unceasingly. I need to slow down some any recomendations dear rivers?
Dearest Hatt, Such a powerful subject. I have consulted a river with whom I actually worked this summer and the answer blew me away. I will post it as soon as I can find words to match the experience. Love to you, Betsy
Ah, Betsy! You just inspired another painting idea! I have begun to sketch a series of leaf portraits and floating on a river brings an entirely new element to my thinking (quite literally – water!). And simply the thought of another series- painting portraits of different bodies of water (trying to capture their fluid souls – what fun!) has me excited!
Would love to read your response to Hatt – somewhat selfishly, too, as I also fear stagnation.
But I also fear impotence or a living life without fully grasping it’s richness and meaning. What say the rivers about such things?
Paintings of rivers’ fluid souls… LOVE. I also really want to hear what you think about the fresh post on stagnation (not an oxymoron I think!). It is different. Meanwhile, I am going to find the right river to ask about your second point. I so appreciate your comments, Leah.