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UJCC Poet Highlight

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

We celebrate UJCC's history with our Poet Highlight Day 3! Jon Visitacion grew up at UJCC and is now an ordained deacon serving the Hospice of Santa Cruz County in Spiritual Care and at Aldersgate UMC. He shares that this poem was written "on a pretty difficult day - I had just spent the entire day imposing ashes on many of the staff and had to provide spiritual support in a tragic encounter in labor and delivery. I wrote this poem, and a week later, my journey in ministry and life with my son Aki being born a week later, and then the statewide shelter-in-place orders began."

Where Rivers Flow Upstream

By Jon Visitacion

One day I hiked a mountain, beyond the normal walk

When I found the wind with me in my stride

And the waters roared from a river beside me

And followed me like a dog on a leash.  

The path zigged, the water zagged,

The path twisted, the water twirled,

And I continued to hike with curiosity and desire.  

And so as I walked, the river would follow.

I walked down a hill, 

and the water would be fast,

I walked up a hill, 

And the water would be slow,

I walked in a valley, 

And the water was deep,

I walked up on a plateau,

And the water was shallow.

I continued to hike towards the highest peak 

where the air was thin and few dared to traverse,

The river continued to follow and began to flow upstream.

It began to crash from the riverbed onto the rocks

And into the trees and high above into the clouds.

It was there where I stopped to pause and notice

That life and death seemed less mysterious and more enlightening.

And to see how both could hold themselves by a razor’s edge

of being both meaningful and meaningless.  

Yet if I were to stay in that place, I would surely pass out.  

My journey was not to end on that mountain,

but to be home by supper.

For there were even greater mountains to climb tomorrow

And other places where the rivers flow upstream.

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