In 2010 I became an honorary member of the Arkansas River Swim Team. When I woke up that morning I had no idea that I would be attending a surprise tryout, but when you get jettisoned from your raft in a Class V rapid you’re gonna have to swim to get out of there.
There is a calming feeling that flows over you when the river is rocking you back and forth–dare I say it seemed maternalistic– even when rocks are scraping every exposed piece of flesh as you float downriver.
The raw power of the river demands your submission, it promises you that eventually you will get to where you need to go.
In 2010 I was forced into a new perspective, even if it was only for a little while. I allowed myself to relish in that individual moment, to look at the sky as the river cradled me back and forth. Prior to this, I would go camping, backpacking, and white water rafting, but far too often my eyes were fixated on a map trying to track my progress to meet my itinerary. My days on the trail and the river were dominated by a perpetual feeling of exhaustion.
Now I submit, I look to the mountains rather than the map. I look to the river to guide me, knowing that it will get me there.