FLOATING THE CANYON

I had not yet floated the canyon. Small parties take to the river at the far end of its slit. Reclining in large inner tubes, they then ride the current for miles, careful to exit the running water just before it goes over the dam or sucks a careless victim through the siphon that carries irrigation water through the mountain. You must be careful, too, not to step on rattlesnakes that come down for a drink. Like the current in the pool, this must be coordinated. Two cars, at the minimum, one on each end of the run. Or else having a friend to retrieve you.

The invitation came. Todd couldn’t get away, but Erik could. As we floated, we waved at cars passing on the twisting two-lane highway. They waved back. I should have worn more than a bikini. I came home rather burned. Still, it was fun.

We waved, too, at friends who came out from back east to visit. Broke out the Dungeness crab and fireworks and promptly filled the sink with wineglasses and dirty dishes. We popped open the champagne and a gust caught the plastic cork and carried it aloft — all the way over the roof over our head, like a kite. “Powerful stuff!” I squealed. Our party continued until midnight. Their children, I’d hear later, considered it the highlight of their two-month journey. By the following summer, though, their correspondence will have ceased, and I won’t know why. These days, even the closest bonds are conditional. But how about me?

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3 thoughts on “FLOATING THE CANYON

  1. As soon as someone says rattlesnakes, i am the one who volunteer to drive the car to the pick-up spot, waiting in it until the party arrives.

    I started reading the book and look forward to continue reading it, splendid descriptions, meditations on the way we live, travel, be and become within “civilization.”

    Grew up mostly in Seattle, then Bellingham,WA, a bit of time in Portland, before a stint in Indiana (driving there twice from the NW), then most recently from Whidbey Island in the Sound to Pennsylvania,(by bus) before happily returning (by train) to Bellingham. I am one of those who we refer to as the “moss people,” preferring the gray sky, the light mists, with an occasional sun break. I remember once hearing on the radio, how there was major traffic jam on I-5 through Seattle because the sun had come out and was blinding the drivers, a sun slow-down as they called it.

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