A baptism of nature

By Andrew Brown

To travel down the Jacks Fork River, is to forget your worries.

Your mind is sent spinning, like the whirlpools left on the water’s surface by the canoe paddle.

The river’s path dips from one gravel covered bank to another, alternating between swift currents and silent eddies. The sun and trees battle to determine the color of the gurgling water. In the shadows, the water is a dark blue, but in the sun the golden brown of the sandstone shines through.

Rocky bluffs with shelves of stone overhang the river. A feeling of insignificance falls over me.

The gentle slosh of my paddle sends me gliding downstream. The shifting gravel bars and piles of driftwood piled high on the streamside make me rethink the calming nature of the valley.

The world around me seems surreal. Trout swim upstream. A lazy turtle, perched on a sun bleached log, soaks up the heat of a late September day. A wake of turkey vultures congregates on the bank, searching for an easy meal.

As I step down into the water, my bare feet strike the sharp stones lining the bottom. Minnows flee in every direction. The tiny missiles explode like fireworks, only to reunite in pulsing schools weaving in and out of the algae filled pool.

My canoe grinds to a halt on the shoreline. My meandering journey is over. The concerns of life return, but with them, a memory.

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