The desire to explore, to discover, to experience. A very important piece of what makes us human…our ability to wonder. To be curious. Our travels take some of us to water. Water is an integral part of what makes us human. It’s necessity, its ability to bring us peace, sustinence, strike fear, bring forth industry, be tamed to an extent, water is filled with wonder and connects us all.
Water. In a river. A river that flows from high mountain tops. Trees like a think blanket abide here, with just the stone faces of the mountains peeking from their evergreen slumber. Small waterfalls and brooks feed the start of our river. A small tarn seeps nearby, the bugs buzzing above its glassy surface. Boulders break up the river as it cascades down the mountainsides, the tree roots gripping and grasping along its banks. The river is fast, a torrent in places, angrily pummeling the rocks, the stones stoic, and steadfast as they bathe in the cold mountain water.
A cacophony of current, rapids, riffles, and swirls, with the sounds of insects humming, birds singing, a deer snaps a twig as it walks through the brambles along the bank. The river singing, breathing, hosting life in all directions, with everything it touches. It connects us all. A muskrat builds a small dam, fish frolic, and dance among the bubbles as the river carves its path downward and forward. An otter peeks its head, an Osprey chirps from its perch. It is not quiet, but the sounds of man absent. The sun warms the woods, the forest smelling of pine pollen, sap, warm dirt, and that distinct smell of a river rolling through.
The temperature of the air is cool along the corridor through the forest the river creates. The heavy conifer branches create a canopy the sun just breaks through, the rocks along the river cold holding onto the early morning, wet with dew, as if perspiring away the morning hours. An elk passes through the current on its way from one ridge to another. Drinking lightly from the water before cautiously walking into the woods. A squirrel chatters, a fish jumps for an insect, the river continues on.
Our river slows and widens, and a small, sleepy town sits along its banks. A valley forms, food is grown, as are animals, water feeding the town as it meanders now, grass thick like animal fur along its edges. Cotton woods hold tight and give the river shade from the warm sun. Beavers swim and tinker away at dams, fish abound, and the river grows. Another river joins ours further from the sleepy little town. The river spands the valley in places, wide and shallow, with riffles between sweeping bends. The water slows more as we meet a small man-made dam. Drawing resources from the river to feed industry. A lake forms, we see boats, people playing and enjoying the river.
The river continues on flowing from the dam into a canyon. Sheer walls of red stone hold the river in place. Slow and deep, the river rolls onward. Bighorn sheep looking on and down at the river from the steep walls they call home. An eagle laments as it is spooked from its perch by the sound of a car driving by. A road follows our river, above the canyon, looking out at a vast valley. The river and road twisting and turning in unison as they streak across the landscape. Eventually, our river is alone again on its journey. Flowing through shrub and sage land. It meets fellow larger rivers and joins in a journey oceanward. Breathing, flowing, giving, and changing as it moves further towards its end.
We all have a river. That river. Our river. Mine looks like this when I think about it. Each of us has our ideal water that brings us that sense of connection. Something that fills us. I have bore witness to many types of water. Our ideal water can change as we discover, explore, and seek out experiences and connections through water. When rivers are running cold, with ice and snow, fish sleeping, and the life a body of water brings; the song a river sings are more subdued. Muffled by the winters embrace. Think of your ideal water. Imagine new things to discover and explore. Seek out adventure and new experiences to chase when the thaw comes.