Waters we love

My mom just got off the river last night. A week between red canyons, high water, white waves. This photo looks like a painting to me, the sighing light, the clouds holding thunder, waiting. My mom is headed home to Oklahoma, my Step-Dad going North for another week to ride the Salmon River. I wish I had the time, the skill, the arm strength to row and maneuver all day.
What is it about water that lures us? Claire’s sea, Rebecca’s Sound, Angella’s island, my river, Melissa’s marsh, Marylinn’s lake right, she can smell the sea?
I’m always amazed at what I find at the river when I look closer. Yesterday, pat and I kayaked upstream, against the wind to an island, to a spot on the Susquehanna where you can wade across the entire thing. Strong current, slippery rocks, I stood in the middle of the river, felt the water slip around me with such  muscle. My knees wavered, my skin wobbled against its body.
Pat fished, caught one and lost a lure and as we floated back with the wind and current, I came upon a branch in the water sticking up like a wild tuft of hair. As I dipped my paddle over and past the it hundreds of blue dragonflies leaped in a cloud around me. They waved against the light and reflection like silent windchimes. Where else could I be surrounded by something like this?
Later in the day, my swim time over, pat decided to fish again in the calm stretch by our friends’ river house. By the shore, below the brown murk, I saw a tail wave me over. “Pat, do you see this?! This fish is huge!” and the fish bobbed under, but not for long. It rode the calm water downstream. We discovered upon resurface that it was a catfish, eyes foggy as bruised opals. Was it sick? Was it pregnant? Why was it letting us so close to it? It ducked under and resurfaced again, floating, hardly moving. We walked the river down hoping to see it again and again. The last time we saw it, he/she was a foot away from me. “Touch it!” Pat cried from up river. “No way!” But I wanted to, in a way, just to feel it. Slick brown skin, white scabs on its tail, it’s dorsal fin, bent over and wilting. I let it be. We looked at each other, he looked up at me, gray eye glossed over and the current carried him under.

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2 Responses to Waters we love

  1. Splendid post, Rachel. Fine observations, fine prose. Perhaps the catfish let you glimpse Time in his lightless, ancient eyes. Nice work.

    • rachvb says:

      There is always something so special about a wild animal allowing you to be close to them. Almost as if you have to earn their presence. I’m always humbled when it happens.
      Thank you.
      xo

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