A brief history of Rod McRiven

I am Rod McRiven. I sometimes go by the name of Rivenrod.

Why Rivenrod? ~ Riven, because when I was a young man I was torn between two lives, art and commerce. 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 I remain resolutely humanist.

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 Amsterdam, smugglers in the dark attempted eye contact.

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 some 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.

“Anything else is merely crap,” he said.

I sailed the Mediterranean; docked in Corsica, Sardinia, the Aegean islands, and Çanakkale. I tracked the voyages of Aeneas, but too many times I traded the deepening love of my Dido for casual dalliances and peccadilloes.

In Florence my Dido boarded a train. I never saw her again.

In Mexico, I climbed Quetzalcoatl and Castillo Tulum and touched the faces of many gods.

In Coyoacán I learned, “The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end. Leon Trotsky

In Borneo, I spat flies into the red-yellow mud of the Kianggeh River and watched a girl catch water snakes to play with.

Lost on the Scottish borders, 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 Laws which pollinate my thoughts to this day.

Older and wiser, I sowed my seeds in the South West of England and watched my children grow strong and beautiful.

But stealthily a debilitating mist enveloped me. My dreams suffered genocide and like many before me, I was seduced by the baubles the world of Business promised. I chose to live an easy though unfamiliar ambition, playing other people’s games, only gradually coming to realise I was becoming 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 here 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 night-time roost. Some days I ride my motorcycle; swooping and diving along the Atlantic coast, a quarter tonne of Milwaukee muscle between my thighs and the arms of my beloved around my waist.

One day, too early in life, surgeons discovered my loving heart was overwrought by the pressures of living. I was ill for too long. These days I pace back and forth treading a path a million miles long, my hands painting in the air a passion for spoken words, magic and wild abandonment to the elements.

Sometimes, at night, you may see me communing with stars and the dust that swims between them, brooding the riddle of man’s inhumanity, making 100 year plans for salvation, worrying there may not be enough time.

© Rod McRiven 2011


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