Nantahala Epilogue: The Spirit of the River Rises

I had heard the tales of the great river’s spirit,

Rising from the water’s depths at dawn and dusk, released for a short time to roam the Gorge. 

As I traveled down the winding road in the early morning light, making my way from this sacred place, my cheeks were wet with tears of farewell. 

In the dawn I saw the Spirit of the River rise, its final gift to me, a blessing, a sacrament. 

The ghostly fog sat above the dancing water, heartbreakingly beautiful, ethereal, framed with the lush green of the forest, accompanied by the music of the tumultuous Rapids. 

I stood at the water’s edge, transfixed, as the Spirit enveloped me, held me close. 

I felt no fear, becoming one with the fog and mist, leaning in to listen to the ancient, wordless teachings. 

In my mind’s eye, I was shown the strength of the river that shaped this land, the courage, the tenacity-  the water at times joyous, at times filled with rage as it carved its path through the mountain. 

I saw the people and animals who came to the river for sustenance, for life itself, over the millennia. 

I know that I, too, come to the river for sustenance, filling my own spirit with its beauty and power, craving the touch of its healing grace. 

My tears left me, and in their place the Spirit of the River touched my soul. 

I was filled with the strength of the Nantahala, filled with peace and serenity from its wise, timeless, waters. 

I felt the river whisper to my heart,

“There are no goodbyes, as we will never part. I will always be with you.”

I felt the energy course through me and watched as the sun began to rise and the Spirit of the River slowly descended to the depths of the water, waiting to rise again, waiting to make another lost soul found. 


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