That night was not as cool as the previous ones, and the following day the sun shone brightly, so the air, water, and the next evening’s float were very comfortable. But I was distracted. Perhaps it was related to the conversation on the previous float—I don’t know what makes one reflect on someone who is no longer in your life. Is there a trigger? Is there some metaphysical energetic nudge that happens between people across space that we mostly don’t recognize? For whatever reason, I found myself considering a lost friendship, musing with regret how delightful it would be to share a float with them on such a beautiful evening. I put in and as always, the river currents carried me forward. I tried to not think about what was not, and focused on what was present before me. Each turn seemed to reveal another treat.
Here was a rock of who knows how many ages, a landmark I’d come to love, with young sycamore saplings still clinging through the floods and all, valiantly trying to grow, green life against a pale yellow sky glow . In another moment, on the other bank was a dazzling kaleidoscope of rippling reflections. Around a curve, trees shined brilliantly off in the distance as river surface mirrored the show. A bit further along the ripples softened and the water spread wide, like the sound of harp strings.
Then, approaching a usually-peopled-bank, instead it was only occupied by a lone green heron that headed off as I passed. As I floated beneath the next bridge, my fleeting yet stubborn heartache resurfaced, sensing that close yet far friend would so enjoy these wonders too. I let the low cascades and prominent rocks freely spin me to shake off my melancholy.
Shortly, like a signpost, there was my old river colleague, a great blue, wading in the sun on the left bank awaiting my arrival before heading down river. I smiled, grateful to see my stalwart friend. As I reflected on my heart’s journey flowing forward, I caught a glimpse of an unexpected form among the trees: a doe! Its ears on alert, it seemed ready to leap but instead, cautiously watched me pass.
I pondered the richness of my ever-evolving life as the textures of tall young grasses and old roots sprinkled with purple blossoms whispered for my attention. A few spins later the water offered interlaced tree shadows offset by a pearly rose sky. Adrift, the current lulled me into a dark nook where lovely fallen kudzu blossoms were suspended in time (I’d posted the image earlier). And then, as if a final gesture of reassurance, the young great blue from the day before came into view, fishing, then standing at attention on a rock, craning and looking over me as I passed. A new friend, I thought, as I was carried down river. I wondered for an instant if I’d ever share these joys with the former friend, allowed my heart to purge, and headed home from a simple and extraordinary float, knowing there will be more wonders tomorrow.