Sunday, 27 May 2018

Across the River - Peter Gabriel

The Flood in Darling - Piguenit 1890
This rare Gabriel collaboration was written with guitarist David Rhodes, Stewart Copeland from The Police and violinist Shankar for the 1982 WOMAD compilation ‘Music and Rhythm’. I particularly love the 1994 Secret Life’ tour version which builds to a dynamic climax, featuring drummer Manu Katche. It’s well worth a listen as then you’ll understand where I’m coming from in today’s blog.

You see, I think you really get the idea of a journey in the song. And yes, I know I write a lot about ‘journey, ‘change’ and getting the most out of ‘life’, but I believe that the notion of crossing a river, can conjure up so many positive thoughts. For me, it’s as if I’m standing on the bank of a river, somewhere in my own imagination, pondering if and how I can get to the other side.

I’ve been on that riverbank a few times too both mentally and physically. Once in the Atacama Crossing Multi-Stage Ultra, at high-altitude, before plunging into waist-deep, ice-cold melt water wondering what the hell I was doing. I mean, there was no choice really as the only way to the finish the stage that day and the race for that matter, was to cross that particular river well over fifty times it turned out.

Not knowing how deep the water was, how limb-numbing it would be, being melt-water and how fast the under-current was, took a leap of faith. A leap of faith that would stop some folks in their tracks perhaps but in real life can prove to be a complete barrier to progress.

Being frightened leads to uncertainty, procrastination or plain nervousness and making decisions a proverbial nightmare.

The thing is, the more you know – the easier the right decision is to make. Thinking about my river analogy, knowing how deep the river was, that it had been recced, that it was safe to cross and that I wasn’t alone meant it was a simple decision to make.

It does amaze me however that people will throw themselves into the deepest raging flooded waters without a hope in hell of surviving. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dived in where others have feared to tread and regretted the decisions I’ve made at leisure but over the last few years I’ve stood and pondered rippling the waters for a long time before diving in or retreating to higher ground.

I’d like to think I’m very sure of which rivers I cross nowadays and how solid the bridges I build can get me to the other side.

How are you getting on crossing your own River?

1,018 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

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