THE BRAIDED RIVER- From Godfrey to Worzel

A letter came, tattered, stained, stamp stuck askew, I opened it carefully, lest it tear. For I knew, he had reached the far Westland, had written by firelight, far from the big city- “Preparing to tramp up The Braided River”, wrote Godfrey.

“Upper middle of nowhere is where I’ll spend summer, where gold is washed down to the rip-rap at Celebrate Bar, in the shallows I’ll pan for the jade or gold flakes or a nugget to mount for you, to wear on a chain, when we meet again.  “And at Dream Big Bar, where river meets sea is a best place to fossick for gem-stone. There sand and water form a natural tumbler, and the days pass peaceful as I am here quite alone.   Indeed, I dream big on the Braided River, no human rubbish, or shout or sign, in the white, squeaky sand the only bare foot prints are mine.

Treasure Bar, on the great river wide, higher up into the mountains the light from the snow fields, by day and the night sky…cause me to recall the wet, dirty streets left below.                      Was where a ring of gold I found, painted on the tar-mac- words chalked near to washed away- “Someone has lost their Halo”….why the vision stayed with me at that time, I could not know.  “If there existed, such a place to find it again, it may be up Treasure Bar on the shingle bend.   “Just one last pan, and a look at the sky, for the rain was coming, summer done. “One last one before I go, panned a perfect wee nugget of gold in the shape of a halo.  Dream big, treasure, celebrate, where the river was shallow, and current slack, I stood knee deep in thanks. For the gold I had gathered.; bent low to the water, emptied my tin of dust and nuggets and gave it all back.”   ” I kept the wee piece in the shape of a halo- shall have it set on your choice of a chain, when we walk arm in arm, those wet city streets, for you when we meet again..                 (With Thanks To Lonewolf)

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4 thoughts on “THE BRAIDED RIVER- From Godfrey to Worzel

  1. Sheila, I read Godrey’s letter over and over and each time it took me closer and closer to memories of my friend Ernie, who panned gold on California’s Yuba River. I have one of his found nuggets, but not a halo shape, on a chain and I believe he gave one to Janet also. Your words are so authentic describing how he felt about his river and mountains, that I’m tearful remembering him. Beautiful.

  2. Thank you Mercy, good morning- I would so have loved to have met your Ernie, and shared our mutual reverence for moving waters, handed down from my Grandpa, even great grand children who never knew him have it. What a wonderful thing to have a panned nugget on a chain- wrote this one on my tea-break- Cheers.

  3. If you wanted to make two grown ladies, one in Nevada and one in Colorado, weep in a rush of memories, you accomplished it wonderfully with this piece, Sheila. Mary and I were wise enough to know when our friend Ernie was alive that he was a treasure, and you write as though you knew him as well. He gifted people he cared about with a nugget, just like Godfrey. Early on when I started blogging, I wrote a post about Ernie and included a photograph of him doing what he loved to do. You can find it in my category “Cherish Friends and Loved Ones” if you’d like. It’s called He Was Joyous. Thank you for a lovely read this morning.

  4. Well, Janet, glad to provide happy tears. He was Joyous- when you were freshly pressed is the story that led me to your blog- tried to locate it again after Mary’s reply, now I will seek and find. Perhaps something of your cherished friend is channeling down, via Mike’s random street photo of the painted halo, and my fond memories of gold panning. I like what you say- Wisdom enough to realize he was a treasure. The three river bars I got from three protein bars at work, where I wrote it- thought they were better names for sand bars than food. Fond thanks, sheila.

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