Portals and Pathways, no. 2

encaustic mixed media collage of a river by Bridgette Guerzon Mills

The second panel I made in this series of portals and pathways. I have used this photo I took in northern Illinois several times in my artwork. I love it so much. The stillness of the river between the banks of wildgrass will always speak to me. The line in the middle of the poem- Where have I gone? really hits me.


The river

Of my childhood,

That tumbled

Down a passage of rocks

And cut-work ferns,

Came here and there

To the swirl

And slowdown

Of a pool

And I say myself–

Oh, clearly–

As I knelt at one–

Then I saw myself

As if carried away,

As the river moved on.

Where have I gone?

Since then

I have looked and looked

For myself,

Not sure

Who I am, or where,

Or, more importantly, why.

It’s okay–

I have had a wonderful life.

Still, I ponder

Where that other is–

Where I landed,

What I thought, what I did,

What small or even maybe meaningful deeds

I might have accomplished


Among strangers,

Coming to them

As only a river can–

Touching every life it meets–

That endlessly kind, that enduring.

-Mary Oliver

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