Analyzing â€œThe Flow of the Riverâ€
As a general rule, people fear time. Time labels humans as insignificant beings with no control. Usually, to avoid this label, people look toward religion for something that transcends time. However, one can form a bond with water that transcends time without being metaphysical in the â€œreligiousâ€ sense. If one takes the time to examine water as a force, he can have an experience in which he feels completely connected to it without the restraints that come with being human. This is precisely the type of experience that Loren Eiseley describes in â€œThe Flow of the River.â€
He embarks on an adventure that frees him. While exploring the Platte River he is overcome with a desire to float. Because of a childhood tragedy, he has a fear of water. The water allows him to overcome that fear to an extent, and Eiseley proceeds to approach the river with respect and awe. He is also freed of his inhibitions and allowed to return to his natural state without being confined by the chains of what society calls â€œappropriate.â€ â€œOnce in a lifetime,â€ Eiseley says, â€œperhaps, one escapes the actual confines of the fleshâ€ (257). The freedom that he acquires by merely floating down a river is a freedom that only one completely in tune to the power in nature can experience.
Once in the water, Eiseley overcomes the time barrier and connects with the river in such a way that he experiences what it is like to be water. He experiences being able to be all places at once. He was â€œflowing like the river was flowing, grain by grain, mountain by mountain, down to the seaâ€ (259). Through all of Earthâ€™s different faces, water has been there. By merely floating in it, Eiseley experiences this for himself.
He also experiences water as a life force. Water allows beings to live. Without it, such as in times of drought, life begins to fai