For the background of this journey please CLICK HERE for the article that precedes this day.
They stood like pilgrims in the white light of dawn, with their baggage packed and ready, waiting to begin their journey back home.
The light of dawn turned the mist on the river to a fine gossamer veil shot with silvery threads. The morning light had started its ribbon dance with twirling of the pinks and the silver in the fast moving currents of the water. The light came into the river mist long before the sun pierced it and dispelled it.
I knelt on the pier and started with the first bottle from the Grand Tetons. It held the natural mountain water from an unknown stream somewhere in the Grand Tetons. It was filled with Tariq’s hands along with some pebbles. As I opened the cap and released the water and pebbles into the Savannah River I felt the ease of release of the contents of a wild mountain stream eager to make the journey home. There was no sense of resistance or loss.
The next one was the contents of a bottle of Crystal water from Belize I shook it and the gold dust danced in it like a child’s snow globe. As I poured it into the Savannah out came the sands of Belize pure and untouched flowing out like gold dust unchanged over the years from its original sparkle, traveling south to go home.
When I was on the coast of Belize, I had noticed a lot of plastic garbage. “ Where is this coming from?” I had asked the researcher who was trying to remove plastic pollution from the island. “From the US” He said. Plastic bottles with brands that are only seen in the US littered the otherwise pristine golden sands of the coast of Belize. From the researcher I learned that the trash travels down all the way from the east coast of USA. Plastic bottles carelessly tossed in the water by heedless hands, travelling down to pollute the pristine shoreline of Belize, choking the sealife into a lifelessless stare.
As the sand and shells from the bottle from Belize fell into the water, I noticed that some of them were exotic shells that perhaps Tariq had collected during snorkeling. For a moment I wanted to keep them and then just as the thought came, I felt the release of the bottle, the contents went joyfully sprinkling the Southern waters of the Savannah with the bright gold dust of the sunshiny sands of Belize. I felt they were as out of place here in the sedate south as I had been as a new Pakistani bride in staid New England where nothing shimmered and nothing had that extra sparkle that is such a hallmark of our Pakistani clothes and personalities.
One by one the bottles released their contents freely and easily into the water. The Savannah receiving them with open arms and efficiently and firmly whisking them away in seconds far into the silvery mist of the river. The gold dust giving itself up to to their travels with tropical abandon.
I came to three cloudy bottles and try, as much as I could they would not open. They had frozen in time, clamped shut with rust from the caps sealing the glass mouth. I felt their resistance to the journey. They were like immigrants washed on the shores of Georgia not going anywhere willingly, not even home.
The last bottle was an enigma. It had no top but the opening was sealed with a brilliant white stone. The bottle I guessed was from Alaska. It was filled with small stones, which shone when wet like polished ebony. They were interspersed with larger ones, which were white with concentric circles of black and grey. They seemed very familiar. I had recently seen them somewhere…
My memory banks opened while I struggled with the stone stubbornly sealing the bottle. Memory flashed and the recognition of the stones rose like a hologram…………
I am in Findhorn walking on the beach with my host from the Forgiveness conference; along the beach are strewn stones with white black and grainy stripes encircling them. Some are large boulders and some are small like the ones in the bottle I hold from Alaska.
I still have that bottle, The only way I can open that bottle is to cut the neck because the stone guard is sealing it in earnest. It will have to go back in some way to Findhorn or Alaska I don’t know which but it will be another morning when I will release it to its journey inshallah…
The Savannah River now holds the memories of my travels with Tariq as it moves rapidly with them, firmly and purposefully towards its destination.
The sense of loss is not as intense as I had anticipated; I feel I have freed the bird from its cage.
Tariq is free as are his memories, some lie in the dark red clay of Georgia, some moving fast on the currents of the Savannah River back to where they came from.
We come from Him and unto Him we shall return…
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (Arabic: إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ) is a part of a verse from the Qur’an which translates to “We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.”