A river used to mean a place to swim. To languidly lie upon her upper throws and roll and wallow at ease in her waters. That was years ago and miles away. Yesterday as I crossed her horseback, she looked tempting, inviting, but I was not fooled. Shallow as she is this fall, I dare not step in. The snow on the surrounding peaks reminds me how frigid her waters will be. I wonder if my horse is disturbed by the bitter douse.
I do not spend my day idle on her shores or tossing in a line as I leisurely wade up her rocky center. I do not draw water from her, or bath in her, or send my livestock down to her to drink. She is only something to look at for me. And yet, she is so much more.
Somehow, she calms my soul. Her hum, so composed and lucid this time of year without heavy rains or run off, engages in the air above the silence and gives us something to hold on to. A note to play over and over in our mind; the simple song of the high country.
The birds were silent yesterday afternoon, and I wonder why. This calm in the weather, I would have guessed, would bring them out in full force, yet they were hidden, quiet or gone. In fact, it was in the midst of the squall earlier in the week that they congregated in a mad frenzy about the ranch: a pair of falcons, a pair of red tail hawks, a pair of eagles, numerous ravens, assorted black birds, the last of the blue birds, the ever present juncos and sparrows, and the occasional magpie.
Yesterday the only song was of the river, a calm and almost melancholy call, overplaying in my mind as soft as a breath next to me on the pillow.
She is serene, almost still this time of year. Gently breathing, softly tickling the rocks as she trickles down her eternal pathway like blood through my veins. The last bit of a sorrowful laughter before the ice begins to form on her surface, and she shuts herself away until spring.