I love the river ride
The smooth gentle river gentle giggling beneath my canoe
The view of the Stag and Doe on river bend with twin fawn
Delicate chirps, sultry hued wing beats
Summer air swirls
Mist meets sun beam dusts air
My guide who leads this tour stops paddling
I look over the side of canoe sitting still for a moment
For I am passenger
I see the micro circle of fish lips peek through surface
Catching a taste of my world
The tour begins again
I do not even need to paddle
I lean back and close my eyes
The sun warms my cheeks and hair
I drift into a momentary slumber
I awake to the river current picking up pace
Guide nods to me and I smile and commence to paddle
Swiftly stroking the waters
Wind envelops bringing breeze of sweet release
We are effortless
The water does not still
We reach a fork in the river
Each split similar
Guide asks for choice
What? But you’re guide! What if…
No time, Guide asks for choice
I bring up a shaky finger, eyes wide I point forward
We shift just in time to accomplish
My eyelids refuse to close
I hear a rush in the distance
Sounds is magnified
We paddle in silence
The water is beginning to take on a dance of passion
I squint ahead
No, no no no no no no!
I scream, Rapids! We’re heading towards rapids!
Oh my god why did I choose rapids!
Guide is silent
I panic, Well, how in the world could I know it was rapids oh my god!
I just stuck out my finger!
I’m furious, Why did you let me stick out my finger?
Guide says firmly- Focus.
I breath I paddle
The rapids are nearing
The water is beginning to race
We make a sharp turn to avoid a bobbing log
My paddle catches between two rocks underwater
My paddle snaps and nearly pull me off the canoe with the force
My arm is in agony
My paddle is broken
The rapids near
Oh my god I’m going to die.
There is NO WAY Guide can handle this alone
I’ve killed us both
I can’t steer
I hold stick with splintered end in hand.
I know, I’ll spear myself with it, yes
Then Guide will not have to deal with my weight and will survive
Yes, yes, this is the answer! It must be!
I grin maniacally nodding
Wait, what? Self annihilation does what now?
That’s it, I’m getting off the canoe
Let’s leave the canoe! I say to Guide, we can still make it!
Guide firmly says- Sit.
It’s too late to think anymore
I hold onto stick firmly shaking
I scream as we enter
It’s all so fast
Water slices my face
The canoe slams into a boulder
Guide stays steady
My body is shoved against a rock
A deep dip, twists turns
The canoe flips
As it flips there is a frozen panic moment
I’m going to drown
I see nothing but bubbles
There is only confusion
Guide makes a powerful shove and we are back on surface
I’m coughing violently gasping for breath
There isn’t a moment to think we are rushing towards another deep dip
I realize the stick is still in hand gripped hands bleeding
I have this tool and it may be broken but I will make it work
My eyes narrow in concentration
I use my tool to shove away from rocks
I let Guide maneuver as I clear our path from where I sit
I stop thinking
I feel my body
I do not resist the rapids
I let them move me
I move with each dip
Meet it in kind
With one final dip, we are through.
We ride the current
Shock wears off and I relinquish stick to the river
Guide brings us to shore
I pick splinters out of my hand and rinse off
I look back at the rapids with a stillness, respect, awe and honoring.
I sit still gazing at it’s glory as I say to Guide
Do you know the other river bends? Were they the same?
Guide makes fire to cook cans from bookbag
Guide says, They will never be the same even if the eye says so.
The rush of the rapids running through my veins
I race through the woods until dinner.