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Came back from chaperoning the Ashland trip, like a boss, with HP. We rule over our adolsecent plebeians with the cunning beneficence of battlewise tyrants, but now we are taking the air at our home in the mountains, and it is good to doff our crowns for a bit and dip our toes in the creek.

River in Mind

I have a recurring dream I would like to tell you about, because so many of you accompany me along when it comes. In the space of the mind it can take days, but I’m told it can happen in under ten minutes in the thing we call time. To begin: a river. A patchwork current made from the stretches that pull on the bones in my chest. First, the birthwater, the Clark Fork, from some highway bridge to Big Eddy, mixed and tumbling over the North Fork of the Flathead, from Big Creek to Blankenship, dotted sometimes with the sandy patch, the Fork of Clark again, from St. Regis to Paradise. Sometimes it takes days, and if I’ve gone to bed hungry, we meet more of us in odd groups of the best friends who have never met, having a picnic on the banks. We pass that spot on the Clearwater, where we see children catching bugs, us as children trapping the bugs in our palms and watching their wings dry on rocks. On the St. Joe, as we drift, always, always there is the father. Sometimes setting the hook in a flash of cutting rainbow, often just gazing, sipping flat amber from a can, watching the beneath. Does this mean famine, or feast? I wonder. When the Swan bit arrives, that’s when you come in, you Vikes and Vals and sisters. Down at the Ferndale bridge where path gets sandy and steep, and we shout verses from the 90’s alternative to one another, even those of us who have not spoken in twenty minus four years. The smells are wet rubber, mud, eel grass, and sunscreen. You don’t know them, but my grandmother waves from the banks of the Jefferson, where Grandpa Jack builds the bonfires eternal. Watch out when we get to the Gallatin, in long curves outside of Ennis, and a bit of turbulance around the Big Rock. Always, I am the one who rows us, and we talk urgently of Important Things That Are Quickly Forgotten. Thought you should know, because you are the company of those smells and sounds, and the dream comes portending. What? What does it mean when I meet you on the Bitterroot in this dreambox? The end is a river I’ve never seen, alone or with you, and the oars break and we drift sideways into a chute without a bottom, and then I wake up with the taste of warm honey.

Is this a poem? I don’t know. I just thought you should know what we run at night. It is really a delicious dream, and I am happy the day after. Hugs to you, my river friends.