Wednesday, August 3, 2016

take me to the river

The river was high this year, for our annual camping trip to fairyland.  This was just after the flooding in West Virginia, and we were worried that the water would be too high, too wild for our yearly anointing.  It was so hard to coordinate this group of families, so we were loathe to cancel. We went for it, hoping for the best.

We armed ourselves with inner tubes. I'm not sure that armed is quite the right word, but we were ready for something. The river was too much the first day, and I played goalie while the kids all bumped around like babies in a playpen, me grabbing and tossing them back towards shore if they started to inch into the current.

This place is one of my favorites. It is so beautiful, and for the first time during one of our visits, the rhododendrons were in bloom.  A couple of us agreed it would be a perfect place to visit even if the river were unswimmable, but we were outnumbered because the river is so much fun.

Blooming Pipsissewa, Spotted Wintergreen: Chimaphila maculata

I have this group of children well-trained. Debbie! Debbie! You have to come over here, and bring your camera!

Hair-cutting, camp style

Day two we were in the river all day. It is like our very own waterpark, with enough current to make it really exciting, your feet find hidden standing rocks at just the right moment. A few brave souls walked up river and floated down on the inner tubes, but most of us cheered them on, pushing up the rapids and letting our bodies float us down.

My kids find their own kind of brave here - their limitations change from hour to hour, and they are happily exhausted by the end of a river day, filled with the satisfaction of pushing their bodies, working together, feeling a part of the water and stones.  It feels dangerous enough to feed the spirit, but not so dangerous that I am constantly worried for their safety. Perfect balance. (Except for the moment when a snake swam against my legs and we both got horribly confused and freaked out for a minute. Then I was like, Oh, you're a little snake! and it was like, Oh, legs! and away it went. Thank goodness it was my legs, right?! Shudder.)

Glorious. I missed it as soon as we were in the car. Our summer has been so busy, but this is the kind of place summer should be full of.