I hope everyone had a good weekend!!! So, on to Chapter 40 - now I really had fun with this chapter. There are, at least to me :) - some interesting elements in this chapter and the first appears on page 248 in this paragraph:
"Four tributaries that were fed by the spring runoff from the Mighty Whites formed the beginnings of the river. A few hundred yards downstream, the four smaller waterways joined into the main channel. The banks and the marsh fields that bordered the pristine waterways were just coming alive from the solitary cold of another long winter. Signs of spring were everywhere."
Now, before I begin the discussion - let me say that the mountains that I called the "Mighty Whites" was a term I borrowed from the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This is a mountain range in northern New Hampshire. For those of you who have hiked or climbed in the New England know this to be true. I have hiked extensively in the "Whites" over the course of 30 some years in all 4 seasons. "Mighty Whites", then, is simply referenced from a mountain range in New Hampshire and not meant to have any other meaning !!
The idea from this paragraph and the idea for the headwaters of the Courageous River, came from the Garden of Eden story. In the Eden story, four rivers flowed out of the garden representing the four "natures of man." The rivers were the Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and the Euphrates. The four natures, of course, are man's spiritual nature, represented by the river Pison, the feeling nature, represented by the river Gihon, the intellect, represented by the river Hiddekel and the body or matter of man, represented by the Euphrates river.
Now, when thinking about the Chronicles, I sort of reversed this "idea," meaning that instead of one river dividing into four tributaries, the Courageous River is formed from the four tributaries coming out of the hills. When Charlie and the Morianders float down the river, the Courageous is already fully formed, meaning that the river embodies the "four elements of man" - the spiritual, the feeling, the intellect and the body or matter. To continue on in the adventure, the retelling of the mythological, the hero, Charlie Hunter, must literally immerse himself in "the Courageous River," sort of become baptized in the river if you will. When the "raft" breaks apart and Charlie and the others are tossed into the water, he then becomes part of the river, literally and figuratively. For the first time then, the four element of his life sort of bump into one another. He is bathed in the four elements of the river, the four elements of man.
So in a sense then, if Charlie - the mythological hero, could have "realized it" at that moment, taking a "plunge in the river" could have.....:) ah if it were that easy - could have enabled him at that precise moment - to completely understand all of the mysteries of the four elements - and thus - return to "Eden." In other words, reverse the trip down the river, follow the four tributaries back and return to the "garden."
However, Charlie does not become "enlightened" at that moment in the story. But the idea here - if you would indulge me - is that all of us, at many times in our lives, are going to be "tossed into the Courageous River" - the stream of consciousness of our lives. And when we are - when we are presented with the life lessons all of us need to learn - the four elements of the man will, to varying degrees, be presented to us - it is up to us to recognize and learn these lessons, if that makes any sense.