From the firelight into the water ~
The river bottom mud is soft and still. It calls to me. I think I might lay the weight of me down there a while. But no, the river flow has me, lifts me, tosses me up into the air in a great sparkling spray, lands me on the far shore streaming and breathless, the lure of the river bottom lodged in my chest.
The Ferryman is there before me, stretched out under a tree on a blanket, grinning at the splash of my arrival. He offers me a chicken leg. “I guess you won’t need my help if you aim to cross like that,” he teases.
There is a path leading into the woods. I’ve never seen it before. Its enticing in the way it turns the bend and disappears into possibility. I could step onto it, see where it leads me. I want to. And I don’t want to.
The river is the boundary between myself and everything else. I’m on the far shore now, foreign territory. That path leads away from me.
I turn back to look at my side of the river. It is greener than it was when I first came to the river some months ago. There are willows now and grasses and some daisies. A few cottonwood saplings. Its not the rocky wasteland that it once was, but its no old growth forest either. Its young still and tender.
“Let’s go home.”
The Ferryman carries us back across. I help him pull the boat up onto the dock and flip it. There are a few small repairs to make.
My pockets are full of river bottom mud. I rest my hands in them.