One swift river rattled along as if on rails, smooth-sliding sails pushed gamely forward on towards the lonely vale.
Another river, flitter-shiver, flip-flapped and slip-slapped ‘gainst solid rocks that blocked its path, twisting backwards down around its corridors of shale.
At the end of the vale, beyond the shale, they met.
At first they ran parallel – the one smooth-sliding and the other slip-slapping – with one ahead and other dragging, then one behind and briefly lagging.
And then: The Drop.
They stumbled, then teetered, then slowly tumbled – turning inside-out and outwards-over til they hit the pool and spooled together, a thousand swirls and strokes of blue that mashed and merged, quick jets of icy fire that mixed and melded white-water hot ’til one was other and other was everything and nothing except for one.
Silence. A moment. A bird.
And then: bubbles, a breath, a gasp… and now with a whoosh they emerge, out and upwards together, back up to the light and the wind and the bird, swooping low and brushing the top-water with the last of her little feathers.
And on – no rest, no time for breaths. On now, stop never.
And on together. One river flick-skips the stones along, the other catches them and moves them on. One river plucks a tree-leaf down and spins it gently, the other lifts it high and flips it down, right over, green to brown.
They seep together. They exchange drips. They lock hands and lace fingers and wind legs round and round, embracing now instead of racing.
The two rivers wound together, tightly bound. Now both were much the same and yet, much both had changed. Since being unseparated, they smooth-slapped and slap-slid.
Can you tell them apart? I cannot.
These rivers are us.
Which is which? I know not. And I care not.
And sometimes I show not – but I care a lot, that we are bound and wound and shall ever be found together, two rivers, flipping and flapping and slipping and slapping and smoothing and sliding together.
We still have far to go. But even once we do arrive – we’ll still be mixed together, forever, you and me – two rivers delivered, in love, to the sea.
Happy anniversary darling.
Photo: Beverley Nguyen.