• Maggie Wheeler


The Longue Sault Rapids (credit: Gutenburg)

Water and flow have been on my mind over the past couple of weeks.

I could attribute this to the fact that I live on the St. Lawrence River and it is spring. Or that as I empty my home office (read: large storage closet with furniture) as part of moving forward on new plans I have become acutely aware of blocked energies and what they do to flow.

Could also be because I have water in my basement. We have ice and early rains that have caused grief to many and I am one of them. In that respect, flow is a four-letter word.

But it’s really about movement. We are always so busy and moving that we think we are in movement but too often we travel in circles. We do again and again what is familiar and has always worked without realizing we are going nowhere and are out of flow.

The interesting thing here is that you cannot really stop flow, only become blind to what it is doing.

The protagonist in my mystery series, Farran Mackenzie, has a favourite saying: “There is no greater force in the universe than an immovable object.” She is usually applying it to her love interest, Inspector Jerry Strauss. Sometimes she is referring to the Robert Moses-Robert Saunders Power Dam that stretches a mile across the St. Lawrence between Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York. Sometimes, she applies it to both at the same time.

Regardless, the fact is sound. We live in a universe of continuous motion, growth, death and rebirth. It never stops. When you dig in and defy it, consciously or unconsciously, you take on the universe. And the universe always wins. It’s just that it often takes years before you realize it.

Where I come from, we have this great big river. Part of it has been forever changed and the flow channeled through turbines (they never stop, either). Where once you could see the Longue Sault Rapids, the greatest of the rapids in the old International Rapids Section of the river—the reason for the dam—now you see only flat water plied by ocean-going vessels. The spumes that once shot 20 feet into the air, the roiling surface of the water, and the constant roar of the rapids are all now gone. In the summer of 1957, when the Seaway Project reached the point of draining those rapids that had eaten many a boat over the years, the people came out to walk among the stones, marveling at how big they were but all worn smooth by the constant motion and power of the St. Lawrence. You see, even rocks cannot hold fast against motion. They may not move but they inexorably change shape and size.

That is because flow is life. And life must continue. When we stand in the way of flow or run away from it (good luck with that), we go against life. All that is and all that makes us. It is where we come from and where we return to.

Part of growing older and, for me, attaining 60 is taking inventory on where flow is blocked. Also where it has been working merrily away without my noticing.

We lose things. We mourn what we have to let go: people, time, years, chances. But as those spin away down the river in the current, new ones come to us. We need to not only free the flow in our lives, but actively move toward it. Embrace it. We are in movement, too. That’s powerful stuff.

Every spring, the St. Lawrence reminds us of that truth.

So does my basement. ☹

Talk next week,


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