Photo credit: Robin Malmanger

By Dave Markwell

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”

– Norman Maclean- A River Runs Through It and other stories

I sit on a bench in the sun at the Des Moines Marina writing words. Beneath the concrete slab walkway and fill dirt, buried deep in ancient tideland mud, lie the fossilized bones of sea creatures who once inhabited this very spot, and maybe enjoyed the same sun I’m enjoying.

This primordial mud is rich with histories of things once alive, but not any more. Microscopic traces of my family DNA may reside next to old bones of fish or the shells of crabs long gone. The world spins and bones stack up in mud. I smile and say “Hello” to the walkers passing by me over the top of the bones and mud, unaware or unconcerned. This is probably a good way to be.

That said, some recognition of life’s impermanence is also a good thing to possess. All bones end up in the mud. No sense in fighting it or feeling bad about it. Nothing to do about it except breathe the heavy sea air and enjoy the sun on our face for as long and as well as we can.

While this sounds dark, my heart is surprisingly light as I write these words. The acknowledgement of this inevitable demi is somewhat liberating. What are we waiting for? The clock is ticking. A little urgency to live life louder and love better is wed to the understanding that we won’t have it forever. Now’s our chance.

It’s unlikely any of my bones will ever rest in the mud beneath the bench I sit on right now. About my spirit, I’m not so sure. I like to think that if my ghost does wind up on this bench in the sun, he’ll smile and say “Hello” to people passing by, too. In the meantime, I’ll do it for him. Now’s a sure thing and not to be wasted.

Dave Markwell is a life-long Des Moines liver and lover. Former owner of Waterland CrossFit and the Waterland Arcade, Dave is now using his unique story-telling voice to help small businesses tell a better story, and his love for people to help folks live bigger and better lives.

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Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...