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The Will Of The River Essay

1065 words - 5 pages

By my wife’s ancestral home flows a river. For a dozen summers I have visited it, and almost every year I make an effort to trace its course back to its source in the neighboring hills; I do not consider my vacation there complete without doing this. In common with others streams of its kind, our river suffers much from the summer drought. I have seen it so shrunken that fish lay lifeless on the parched sand and gravel of its bed. But this summer I saw something I never had been sufficiently observant in other abnormally dry years, I am sure I could not have failed to notice the same thing earlier.
One morning last April, in company with a student friend and also my elder son, I started out ...view middle of the document...

I had read of other streams that upon encountering similar obstacles irretrievably lot themselves in sand mud. But Bakong- because that is the name of our river- determined to reach the sea, tunneled its way, so to speak, under its sandy bed, of course choosing the harder and lower stratum beneath, until at last it appeared again, limpid and steady in its march to sea.
And then I thought of human life. I was reminded of many a life that stopped short to its great end just because it lacked the power of will to push through hindrances. But I thought most of all those who, like our river, met with almost insurmountable obstacles but undismayed continued their march, buried in obscurity perhaps but resolutely pushing their way to the sea, to their life’s goal. I thought of men like Galileo, who continued his work long after his sight had failed; of Beethoven, who composed his nobles and sublimest symphonies when he could no longer hear a single note; of Stevenson, who produced some of his greatest works after he was doomed to die of tuberculosis; and of Cecil Rhodes, who was sent to Africa to die of an incurable disease, but before he obeyed the summons carved out an Empire in the Dark Continent. These resolute and sublime souls reminded me of what our river taught me- that if we cannot overcome obstacles, we can under come them.
Another lesson I learned from Bakong is the fact that the river was not merely determined to flow just anywhere; it was determined to reach the sea, to the great end. Many streams manage to surmount barrier they meet along the way, but they come out of obstacles after much labor only to end in a foul and stagnant marsh or lake. How like so many human lives. How like so many people who, in the springtime of their youth and in the summer of their early manhood, showed splendid heroism against frowning odds, determined to...

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