Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jul 2011
Book review: RiverRun by Kathryn (Mothra) Streletzky
RiverRun: Adventures on the Edge of Enlightenment by Kathryn (Mothra) Streletzky
I eagerly purchased this book. I knew Mothra from R.B.P. (Rec.Boats.Paddle) back in the 90s and had padded with her a few times. She, like me (and probably most paddlers - although I cannot speak for others), was affected by the many deaths occurring on the river in that era. I personally knew two paddlers whom had lost their lives paddling. And the deaths darkened the sport for me, causing disillusionment. At some point, I “retired,” not for any one reason, but for many…
And both of us had profound journeys off the river searching, seeking… for me, for an end to my suffering (before and following my mother’s passing) and stresses; my journeys, ironically, would return me to the river.
So, I was really interested in what Mothra had to say regarding her journeys off and on the river. I knew she’d write honestly from the heart and she did. It took her much courage too, in my opinion, as some of what she puts forth is not typical mainstream discussion fare. This book is a “first descent” or rather “first ascent” into a new world and way of perceiving life, which I am grateful she decided not to portage, but, to “run” and run it so well too.
This book is about connections, including the deep connections we share with fellow paddlers, even those with whom we have never met. But it’s much more than a paddling memoir. Mothra speaks candidly of the connection (that she is open and receptive to) between the living and the deceased and the love that bridges life and “death.” There are several interwoven stories exploring this and what it means to be alive: her own, often on-the-edge, on and off river journeys and near-misses, her sister’s battle with a rare disease and the choice she must make to live life or possibly extend her life but not live, and last the impact of paddlers’ deaths, and most significantly that of Scott Bristow’s, on her and those paddlers’ messages to her from beyond. Her experiences may seem incredulous, but I - who happened to have gone through my own mysterious, simply strange, yet sometimes awe-inspiring events on and near rivers - believe without any doubt that of what she wrote was her experience. It left me with hope that those who leave this planet, call it “death” if you will, are still there for us, helping, supporting, and guiding. Yet there is a cautionary note too not to hold on to the past but rather to live in the moment and embrace that moment.
While attempting to help her cousin, she finds herself reluctantly on a different type of journey away from the familiar, away from rivers, one that would lead her on a path of discovery and healing. How she got there had me thinking: thank the people you feel #$#@% over for whatever. They’re giving you a gift if you can accept that gift.
And on that journey she has an extraordinary experience related to Scott Bristow’s passing. Upon reading it, I was agape, in awe at the mysteries of life and the love that can power them, and amazingly healed on one level from my own grief and loss.
I am going to read this again…
In case you are interested, you can buy the book at http://amzn.com/1484013468