Thursday, July 21, 2016

Progress and Adventure

Yesterday Girlfren and I decided we wanted blackberries for lunch, and since I felt good — better than I'd felt in a long time — we went a-pickin in the woods near my folks' house.

When we had picked to our hearts' content, we looked up at the blue sky and said, "This day is too lovely to spend inside. Let's go for a drive through the countryside with all the windows down." So we climbed in the car and drove through fields of green with grazing horses and tidy red barns.

I'm not sure if it was the Queen Anne's Lace lining the country roads, or the gusts of summer wind blowing through the car, or the sun shining through the sun roof, but adventure began to tingle in our bones and we said, "This day is too alluring to spend in the car. Let's go find a river and romp in it."

So we drove up into the mountains, through forests of towering pine, until we found a lazy river laughing its way through the forest. We followed it for awhile, winding our way through the damp shade of the trees along the river. And then, when we were far from any farmland, we looked over at the river and saw frothy, churning white water tumbling over river rocks. "Ah," I told Girlfren. "This is where we stop."

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We parked and walked up the river a ways before settling on a large rock on the river's bend. I peeled off my socks and shoes and draped my legs in the clear-water current, and though Girlfren is not fond of baths, she marched like a seasoned pro into the shallow water pooling to one side of the rock, before climbing up beside me to sunbathe.

We spent the afternoon perched on that rock, my legs dangling in the water. I tried to drink in all the beauty around me — the thirsty ferns at the river's edge, the sun skipping across the water, the swarms of riverflies gleaming in the sunshine, the slippery red rock covering the river's bottom — but my eyes felt too small to hold it all. So I sang. Through the years I have learned to sing when my eyes are too small to hold the beauty around me. Singing is another way of seeing and holding the sacred.

I like to think Girlfren was moved to baptism by my rendition of "How Great Thou Art," but it's more likely she tired of my warbling and eventually thought, "Enough is enough; what can I do to escape this noise?" so she marched into the deep, swift current, and if I hadn't leashed her, she would've gotten much more of a swim than she bargained for.

"You know," I said, as I pulled Girlfren back onto the warmth of the rock, "you have the right idea. Let's not sit around anymore; let's go swimming." So I swam while she tanned, and then she and I forged the river and explored its opposite bank.

Before long, the sun sank closer to the tips of the trees, so we crossed back to our rock, gathered our things, and climbed into the warmth of the car.

© by scj

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