It is the first day in April and I am looking out the window at an epic April Fools Day prank. The skies and mountains are all gray. People are trapped in their houses submersed in the gray fear of coronavirus. There is no promise of spring tans, blue sky or yellow sun. We are even wearing gray sweatpants or lounge wear while waiting to be released from the endless isolation of our house. Just as I nestle down for my second nap of the day, my husband drags my reluctant butt off the couch. He insists on taking a walk in all this slushy gray depressing mess. I bundle up as if it was January and we head out. As we walk silently around our housing development, adhering strictly to the social distancing protocol, I notice that life is teeming around us. Birds are crowded in the trees. Worms pepper the sidewalks. Children are outside playing everywhere. It is like the whole world is out for recess. There are driveway basketball games, mom’s racing their kids on scooters, strollers, dog walkers and signs of the earth waking up. Time seems to have slipped backwards a few decades. I marvel at this revelation as we cross the bridge over Flat Creek. We take a minute to hang over the rails while scanning for fish. The water is clear and fresh. Small nymphs dart in and out of the rocks. The sound of the water gently brushes against the bridge. I realize people pay money to experience this on an app.
Nature is our one constant. It doesn’t ask our permission to change. The power of its defiance makes us bend to its will. It’s not worried about riding the tide of popularity or pleasing the masses. We can tweet, facebook and snapchat about it, but it will hold the path. Whatever is going on in the world belongs to the humans. The water is at the center of it all. It twists and turns creating its own destiny. My mind dares to jump ahead to summer. The warmth of my deck, the trails that wind through the mountains and the river. The river that is constant. It holds life in its depth as it slithers across the earth. Being out on the river is a rare gift. The fresh air, community of nature and the slowdown that happens the moment you step on a raft. The summer seems far away and vague. The river will be there when we are ready with its ability to make us forget the gray. In sickness and in health the river flows.