Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The View From Water-Level

I've already told you about how we swam in the warm water at Buffalo Point. But there's another story I want to share.

After we'd been in the water quite a while and our fingers were looking like raisins, Trudy and I began to work our way back upstream to where our towels were sitting by the river's edge. We weren't in a rush. We would move a bit and then just sit in the water and talk. And then we'd move a bit more.

At some point we both looked back to where Ben had been lying in the fast-moving water of the canoe chute. He was now standing and working his way slowly upstream, too. We were in neck-deep water, with our eyes right a water level. He was in ankle-deep water walking slowly toward us. He had to move slowly, because he was barefoot and the river bed was rocky.

We watched him, from water level, take one step and then tentatively take another, looking ahead then down, moving from side to side as he found each foothold. His long dark hair was wet and clung to his neck and almost his shoulders. His dark, wet skin glistened in the sunshine.

From water level we watched this. It was a dramatic sight. Something you might see in a movie. Certainly not a vantage point I'd ever had before.

So imagine the scene shot from water level where the river is moving slow and the water surface reflects the blue sky above the canyon. Imagine in the distance a man walking slowly, stealthily up the river bed, looking up then down, leaning left then right. Imagine him taking one step at a time upstream, walking alone in the wilderness, exploring the canyon, discovering the white bluffs at the bend in the river with no one else around for miles.

That is the scene we imagined as he walked back to where we were.

Then we got out of the water, dried off, and walked back to the campsite for dinner.

Buffalo Point.
Buffalo National River, NW Arkansas

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