My darling son Kenny was in town this weekend and we went to the James River, by way of what’s known in these parts as Texas Beach. You depart ordinary reality slowly, via a path from a park near Maymont which seems initially rather, well, ordinary. This is, as I’m sure you know, often true of portals. You walk down a dirt path, cross over the railroad tracks via a weirdly God-awful footbridge and set of stairs down to the path on the other side, over and past the still waters of the inland channels. Keep going. Past baby snakes, past the people gathered in the lagoon (you can let one of the kind men carry you across, if he offers), past stagnant water, poison ivy, tree roots, all being lovely, all being love. Keep going in to the river, into the fall line. Over the rocks and the current. To where you are in the center of everything and you are river. You are the huge rock with water moving past. You are the sun shining on everything. You are the beautiful planet that is recreating itself before our very eyes. You are the railroad bridge. You are the girl hoola-hooping just upriver. You are creating and being created, and it is a little bit astonishing, a little bit reassuring, but mostly, you are breathing in, breathing out, and you feel the river-tree-sky-beauty breathing with you.
Image of me by Kenny Crowley, taken at Big Sur last year. We didn’t bring any cameras to the river this time. Just ourselves.