I needed someone to talk to, so I talked to the river. Like me, it’s different every day. It rises. It falls. It flows ever forward, with and without purpose.
It listens quietly as I speak, lapping murmurs of assent against the rocks, asking quiet questions in its to and fro on the shore. It rushes to speak where the ripples rise in shallow eddies, and where it runs deep, it is quiet, still and patient.
Presence. The river offers that. It lets me touch it as we share our thoughts. I dip my bare toes into the cool water and it is there to receive me, not indifferent or recoiling from me. It embraces me, fills every crevice and wrinkle. I feel held by it, this gentle gesture of touch, a reaching out toward me. Toward me. To me. It lingers, and we feel each other as we speak.
I speak quietly in its presence. It is someone to talk to, this river. I hear my voice saying words that surprise, words that just come and slip into the stream. They float along the surface and dance between the rocks before submerging and merging with the detritus of decomposing leaves and grasses.
My friend, this river, lets me linger, and shows me myself in my own reflection. I see you, it says. This is you. Now. Here. In me. With me. I am here with you, says the river. I am here. I will be here. Come to me when you need to. And so I do.
I kneel for photos. I stand on my tippy-toes for more. Every angle is good. Every angle is bad. This companion waits patiently through the shutter clicks. It invites me to see us together in its reflection, to photograph that. Me and it, shimmering, together. We are side by side. I am the film on its surface. I could strip bare and fall in, and it would cover me and hold me and not let me go. It would fill my ears and mouth and eyes and lungs and every part of me. It would push me and carry me. I would be part of it.
We don’t talk about that. I just talk quietly. I say what it helps to say. It listens gently, lapping murmurs of assent against the rocks, asking quiet questions in its to and fro on the shore.