The river and how she heals

When my childhood house went cold—not the oxygen and nitrogen, but the mood, the atmosphere around my parents—when that froze into stasis, into wariness, into step-lightly-quietly-invisibly, I would retreat outside where I could breathe without inhaling daggers of ice. I could walk, exhale, stand still and let the fluid air move past me, that river-wind, the water-breeze. To the river I walked to watch geese waddle, fish jump, crayfish snap. I climb my tree. I sink into her branches, her cradling limbs; this bough won’t break. I follow the turbulence of the waves as the river tumbles past boulders and semi-submerged logs. Ripple, spiral, swirl: the action and ease of flowing water. Too soon the earth turns away from the sun and I can’t stay by the river forever, so I tuck the images inside me, nestle the sights and smells into the nooks of my body. I nurture that river within and carry her with me: to school the next day, to my home when it grows chill again. I carry those river experiences all the way into the future to draw upon when needed. This river never runs dry.