Getting Down the River

I’ve been on vacation, and I’ve learned something about myself.

I went on the trip with my sister and her husband, his sister and her husband, and my friend, Neil. Last day was a rafting adventure down the Snake River near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

We’d seen all the youtube videos beforehand–the white water, the ominous music, the raft tossed up in the air, people flying out of it. One son told me we were too old for this kind of thing. “You can’t do that; y’all are so screwed,” he said. The other son said to be sure and wear a helmet and a life jacket.

We were six of eleven people in our raft. Neil volunteered to be lead paddler. With my kayaking experience, I should have been lead paddler, but no, I hung back and instead volunteered to be a side paddler. We took the rapids well, and when we got to the biggest one, Lunch Counter, a photographer was on the bank set up to take our pictures as we met the most formidable thing the Snake had to offer.

Later that afternoon we went to look at proofs. In every one, my head is down, not looking at the wall of water coming at me, but busy at the work of paddling — trying to get through it successfully. Everybody else in the boat is looking straight ahead at their fate, at this wave coming to splash and swamp them, and they all have their eyes wide open and they are laughing expectantly.

Not me. I’m taking care of business. In any crisis, I fear, feel, plan, worry, and shoulder into it to ensure I get through it upright.

I went down the river like I go through life.

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