Crossing the River

The blind man told me, “Listen to the river.  The river will tell you where you are.  And when you know where you are, you’ll know where to go.

So I said, “But wait.  You were there in summertime.  When I’m there, the river will be frozen.”

And now I am here, the place we once called “there.”  And the river flows.  Oh, there’s snow.  This is Vermont in wintertime.  But through this village, the water flows faster than the cold.

This is a community of artists: painters, sculptors, writers.  We come to create.  We come from all over.  We come to the land where rivers flow north.

Randy leads me over the bridge — over the river.  As the whoosh of the water fades, he steers down the path toward my writing office.  I have a story in mind.  It was there when I awoke.  I want to turn thoughts into words.  In my bag, I carry my laptop, its cables, its memory. 

We have wind-generated electric power here.  We have Wi Fi and cell phone towers.  My GPS tells me I’m 773.78 miles from its favorite place.  So I text home and say, “I miss you, Honey,” and she texts right back and says, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Valentine.”

The writing office overlooks the river.  When the first blind man was here, he listened to the river through the opened window.  But it’s winter, so I choose warmth with quiet.  Randy gazes toward the river bank, where mink and raccoon gather.  As I unpack my bag, he circles twice and curls up on the rug.  I whisper my morning prayer of gratitude. I begin to write.  Just a line to start me out; the rest will come, without a doubt.

JEFF’S NOTE:  I was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Access Fellowship, to be a writing resident at the Vermont Studio Center.  The Creative Access Fellowship is targeted for blind and visually impaired writers.  I will be crossing the river here in Johnson, Vermont throughout the month of February.

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10 Responses to Crossing the River

  1. bethfinke says:

    This. Is. So. Great.
    CONGRATULATIONS, Jeff. Can’t wait to hear more.

  2. Jan Anne Dubin says:

    Thanks Jeff for taking us with you across the river. Big hugs to you and Randy. I look forward to the next posting!!!

  3. Congrats, Jeff. A real opportunity. I’ll be anxious to read more about crossing the river with Randy. Your sense of humor is such a gift!

  4. Jeff, beautifully written! We miss you at Friedman Place but we are very proud to be your friend.

  5. Nancy B says:

    Congratulations! Hope you have a fruitful and creative time!

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Thank you all so very much for your kind wishes. I like the sound and feel of being “in residence.” Randy wants to be loosed to play with the critters who live on the river. Beth, you’ll like it here. Jan Ann, Thanks to you and all those at Second Sense who played a part in this Fellowship. Ann, for the greetings from Friedman Place. I appreciate the support from all of you at FP. And Judi, what a wonderful surprise to hear from you. Mary and I think often of you and dear Andy. And for all Chicagoland readers: Vermont is colder; count your blessings. More later.

  6. Andrea Kelton says:

    Bravo, Jeff! You’re an inspiration to us all.

  7. David von Hemert says:

    Jeffrey – congrats on the fellowship…just in time for the blizzard of 2013. Hope you, Mary and Randy are curled up by a roaring fire. Best – David

  8. Elaine Bryant says:

    I grew p in Vermont it is a place of serenity and beauty. I enjoy your post and your gift of writing, blessings to you and yours Pat Randy on the head for me!

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