I go to the river for a night swim. Crossing the gravel road on foot, my sandals flopping softly against my heels like the sound of cotton t-shirts waving on the clotheslines, I can hear the river already. Thunderstorms from this afternoon raised the water level and the froth of the rapids; mountain water.
At the river’s edge I shed my towel and sandals, then duck out of my bathing suit realizing the ridiculousness of it. I chant to myself wading inward, a Jewish hymn from Women’s Singing Night: [phonetic] Elih, elih, shalo yigamer leolam, hakohl veh hiyam, rish rush shel hamayim, beroh, hoshamayim, tvilat, ha ah dahm. [translated] Oh Lord, my God, I pray that these things never end, the sand and the sea, the rush of the waters, the crash of the heavens, the prayer of the heart.
The water is cool but not cold; it is the difference between tap water and ice water. My feet are temporarily crippled by rocks until my toes navigate to a silky deposit of river nutriment in a deeper pool. I wade slowly, deeper, up to my waist, singing all the while. The fireflies flicker in abundance, their numbers falsely magnified by myriad reflections across the tabletop of water. I break the surface with a slow dive, shattering the mirror with an eerie silence.
Breathe. This is why I came here.
The acupuncturist told me to find my way to water, to sit along the bank of the river and watch the movement. “Stagnation,” she said, “you’ve got to let things go. Watch how life moves in the river. Get close to that.”
I wait on the shore, warm under a thinly worn gray hooded sweatshirt, and I see it, feel it, hear it, breath it. Movement.