May 31st, 2009
A river is never lazy. It pretends. Meandering through, glassy water primps and prepares for summertime company. Underneath currents fish glide and wiggle and get fat. They make room for splashing. Rock bluffs like natural metallic skyscrapers blink in sunshine, echoing shrill laughter, accommodating sun, bursts of wind, clouds and birds, gliding, passing, chattering.
Icy coolers bursting with sandwiches and soda complete the outing, along with lawn chairs lacing river banks like colored presents. If you don’t have a grand time, blame yourself. This natural host has gone all out.
All year we wait for the river and the river waits for us.
Nothing cracks open my imagination more than floating down a crisp, lazy river. Here in Texas, specifically the Frio. On that slick, black inner-tube or puffy yellow raft, sitting under azure sky, I feel like the wealthiest woman on earth.
My happiest memories have sprung from water. Maybe yours too. As a child, Swan Creek, and Rome Creek and Rippie Creek, all complete with swinging ropes, crawdads, and family. When my dad asked mom if she wanted to go to Rome on certain weekends, she gave him a sloppy grin and said she’d love to. Then we’d pack up and head to Rome Creek.
Water is for the living, but I once saw an old man die in the Buffalo River. One minute sitting in his neon green lawn chair, dipping toes in water like chocolate to a strawberry, and the next, stiffening and face first in the water. The river seemed to shout, “Leaving so soon? Well, if you must, I’ll receive you like I always have.” I’d like to believe he died right where he’d lived the best.
Despite this, my best times have been lived in and around water. After a day spent there, thoughts are crisp, appetite ravenous, and sleep strong. The air smells fresher, life seems deeper. Sweeter. It’s as though these things have never been experienced properly before.
Summer is here. A lazy river awaits.