26 Jul 2019

Sound of the River

It's a dark night, and it's raining outside. Gentle rain that sounds like a thousand tiny rasps on the tent, as if requesting me to let it in. I close my eyes. It is day 4; the last day. I am sitting cross-legged, a gentle light illuminating the roomy tent I have owned for the past 6 years. I am warm and fuzzy, both on the outside, and the inside. There is that sweet feeling of...safe, kinda amniotic sac-safe, womblike safe (Need to look that feeling up because I know it has a name)

Thunder rumbles in the distance. Not the loud bang that makes you jolt or your heart quicken; a gentle boom that matches your heartbeat. Just a few feet from my tent is a river, and if I close my eyes hard and concentrate, I can hear the water flow. A bit slow and sluggish as the silt makes it difficult for the water flowing downstream. However, I can tell its level is rising by the change in the sound of the river. And yes, rivers do have sounds. 

Is the river in a hurry? A different sound. Is the river full and heavy, burying rocks underneath, or thin and light, curving its way to avoid rocks? Those are two different sounds. You are thinking about it now, aren't you? And you are now smiling at the realization that you knew this info all along without knowing that you actually did. Pretty cool, huh? 

See this is why I hike and camp. For the sound of the river. For the sound of the rain begging me to let it in and the light sheet of the tent is the my shield against its incessant cries. The contradiction that's a thin piece of cloth is meant to keep you warm and safe, and it does exactly that. It's the laying here loving this, this being one of my favorite feeling in the world, and knowing that I also do not want this feeling to last. 

Because I want to be able to go back home and long for this feeling again. Close my eyes as I lay on my fluffy pillows and comfortable bed and wish I was out here, sleeping outside, on the ground, snuggled in my sleeping bag. I know someone will read this and not understand why on earth I would possibly be sleeping outside, in the wild.  And I am not going to try to make you understand. You either do or you don't, and if by now you don't feel it, you are never going to. 

Think of something in your life that you feel you can never try to explain what it makes you feel. Something you know is not worth a justification. Something that you love and you don't care if the whole world hates it, you would still love it. That's what this feeling is to me. 

I met the family who owns this place. A couple with their three kids and grandma. It's a little heaven in the middle of nowhere. The plan was to cook at the campsite which's also next to their house. But the rain huffed and puffed and we gave in. They let us use their kitchen. We cooked together; them their son's 20th birthday dinner, me our last supper on the last day of our amazing adventure. We talked about the local people who host them and now us, food security, travel, exploration, whether ants eat clothes (a serious conversation by just me and the 6-year-old), and my almost sprained ankle as I moved around the huge open kitchen. Sometimes we are all silent and the sound of pans, frying, stirring, crackling fire are all that fill the kitchen. But its comfortable silence. Were it a scene on playback and we pressed pause, and we each described what we were all feeling? Happy would be the word. At that moment, we loved being here, together, even though we'd just met. We were friends for this moment. We might never meet again, but none of us will forget this night. 

As the rain gets more agitated, the begging turns into heavy pounding. And instead of scaring me, it soothes. Normally, I will play this sound on an App to make me sleep. I would visualize this moment. Right now. And that helps me sleep. This time. I am experiencing it; and its a damn great feeling. The river is getting faster, no longer rapping at rocks, but swiftly flowing over them. No longer a gentle stream. I smile. I am exactly where I would rather be.