January 16, 2013
Taking a few, quick strides, I easily reach the end of the block and start on the next. The streets used to seem so long, but now I take them with ease. What has changed? Am I stronger, quicker? Is that what is different?
Finally the woods clear to reveal where the great Willamette and Columbia Rivers meet; they form a fork in the river road. The magic place where you can get to the other side, the rumored secret passage. I’m imagining the ecstasy of the explorers who found it. I feel some of it myself, and much less is at stake. Now it is our turn to swim to the other side. The water is the color of rust. Why? Could it be blood?
I venture into the water and the reluctant dog follows. But do I have the strength to make it all the way across? It must be a couple of miles.
I am swimming with ease, using just my arms. So easy. And before this, I couldn’t swim at all. I had made it too hard, too much effort. But what if I’m halfway across the wide river and panic? I doubt I can do it; I go back to shore. Maybe I can find another way. he dog follows. My friend still waits for me on shore.
Crowds of people are on shore. I’m turned around, not sure what leg I’m on. I ask … maybe I have made it to the other side just by walking? No, of course not. But I see there are places with less distance to swim to make it across the river. Like Venice: many small canals. I tell my friend I can find a short swim. We can all go. Now I see I’m with my siblings. Relief. We can all make it to the other side with ease.