The river tugged on my legs and pushed autumn leaves past me. It was a mesmerizing flash of yellow, gold, and crimson—rainbows in the water that had no use for my fly. The fish were not that interested either and the lack of strikes left lots of time to admire the harvest-colored view. As I moved against the current I contemplated the feeling of water tumbling towards the ocean momentarily hindered by my shins. A few days earlier it had been a four year old that embraced me and whirled around my legs in a fit of happiness. And in the river I realized that while some women are born to have children attached at hips and knees, I am meant to have mountain water surround my lower extremities.
I was a fish out of water at the Mommy and Me Dance, a room of complex little beings full of exuberance and spontaneous shyness, all ecstatic to have their mamas with them for a little while. As a stand-in “mommy” with my special girl clutching my hand tightly I was focused on that one child in the schoolroom that mattered to me. And it was fantastic—her joy made my heart rise as we whirled to the music. The true mommies flashed boastful grins, I just smiled politely and dreamt of my plan to be in a river by weekend, which river could be a surprise left to our whims and the weather. I wasn’t unhappy, just not in my element.
The river felt right on Saturday. The San Miguel, a bit bloated from fall storms and snowmelt rolling down the valleys, was pushier. Like an anxious child leaping into my personal space, the river threw me off balance and the rock rolled out from under me, leaving me elbows down in the icy water. Had there been a trout lurking in that pocket we would have been eye to eye. I regained my footing and continued the meditative fishing. Rivers, like children, are fickle dance partners. I’m grateful I have access to both, but look for me at the water.