I have been sitting near rivers lately. The Rogue, tumbling and hurried and gathering itself to burst forward in gasping sprints. The Umpqua, slowed by the deep horseshoe bend in front of the cabin, a spoon lazily stirring cream in a cup. Ospreys and eagles and those improbably enormous buzzards flying overhead. Everywhere a riotous cacophony of green.

All three of my boys like to be active in the water, tossing time-flattened skipping stones or casting fishing lines or easing into that first full-body immersion. I’m happiest in a chair with a book in my lap, as content and still as a lizard on a hot rock. I can feel the weight of the sun on my skin, I feel dopey with the heady pleasure of it. I imagine, somewhere inside me, a charging battery that will get me through the dark winter months.

At some point I put down my book and tip my head back. Breathe in, all that buzzing warmth filling my chest. I can hear laughter and splashes, see flashes of striped swim trunks and the glint off my husband’s sunglasses. Mom! someone cries happily. I smile and wave and I look at the water and I cannot imagine how it all works. How it came to be that this particular ripple, this one right here, has traveled its great unknown journey to splash against this riverbank where I’m sitting with my family. Everything that has led to this exact moment. Every tiny thing that could have changed the trajectory, every unpredictable destination ahead. And on and on it goes, never stopping. The water is forever, and I’m left believing in something like luck, or if not that, believing in my own gratitude. A breeze sighs through the valley, every leaf dances then stills. Everything around me speaks of the uselessness of focusing on the past or future. There is only this, and my god, my god, it is so glorious.

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