I am Rod McRiven. I sometimes go by the name of Rivenrod,
Why Rivenrod? ~ Riven, because when younger I was torn between two lives and Rod, because that’s my given name. Hence Rivenrod.
My blood is Franco-Germano-Celtic – a living example that a homogenized species is a work in progress. Despite being Riven (torn asunder) I remain resolutely human.
After formal education, I roamed the globe. Europe: the plains and forests: the ice-flows and lava-flows: the great cities and village squares – Paris, Rome, Berlin, Florence, Barcelona, Prague, and more and more . . . Monte Carlo and bust.
In ’75, on the spur of a moment, I discovered an almond valley in North Africa which opened to the Sahara. There I watched inscrutable two-toned camels stare at women dancing the Zarraf hidden behind the dunes.
In ’77 I spent a year in the desert, drinking tea with Imazighen, tending goats, feeding camels coming to enjoy a diet of barley served with a puddle of melted goat’s fat. Chief Bouadrho taught me to cherish only those things absolutely necessary to live.
“Everything else is just crap,” he said.
I sailed the Mediterranean sea around Corsica and Sardinia, the Aegean islands, and Çanakkale. I tracked the ancient voyages of Aeneas, but too often I traded the deepening love of my Dido for casual dalliances and peccadilloes. Then in Mexico, I climbed Quetzalcoatl and Castillo Tulum, touched the faces of many gods.
In Borneo, I spat flies into the red-yellow mud of the Kianggeh River and watched a little girl catch water snakes to play with.
Finally and inevitably home, I sought healing. In ice-needle rain, at Rosslyn Chapel, I conversed with Freemasons, quizzed Knights Templars and began a simple devotion to the Noahide commandments which sustain me still.
Older and infinitely wiser, I sowed my seeds in the South West of England and watched my children grow strong and beautiful. But stealthily a debilitating mist clouded my judgement, my dreams suffered genocide and like many before me, I was seduced by the baubles the business world promised. I chose to live an easy though unfamiliar ambition, playing their games, only gradually coming to realise I was entombed in a mausoleum of corporate conceit.
One winter’s morning, before it was too late, a beautiful woman woke me and said she had chosen me to be with her forevermore. So, I combined my children with hers, made a family, and settled on Exmoor. And there I found peace.
Today, I split logs for the fires; I walk the fields and moors, nod to the granite oak, gather sloe berries, chew the cud of some long lost debate, wonder at the argument of crows flying homewards to their nighttime roost. Some days I ride my motorcycle; swooping and diving the Atlantic coast, a quarter tonne of Milwaukee muscle between my thighs and the arms of my beloved around his waist.
Increasingly I pace, back and forth for what I feel is a million miles, my hands painting in the air a passion for spoken words, magic and wild abandonment to the elements.
Sometimes, at night, you might come across me communing with stars and the dust that swims between them, brooding the riddle of man’s inhumanity, worrying there may not be enough time.