The canoe slides noiselessly through the river. Beneath lily pads and water lettuce, the water is astonishingly clear. Stare down to the river’s bed — observe the passage of soft-tumbled stones pressed into fine silt. Shift of focus — see in stead the pattern of complex reflections tremble against the water’s surface.
Trees huddle to left and right — thick, green, lush, they define what once must have been the river’s slope-shouldered banks. The river, though, has swollen to claim large portions of the wood. Even midstream, trees lift themselves skyward – roots and trunks knuckle up through shallow water; while bark, worked in layered shapes and soft colors, peels slowly away from those wooded torsos. Dip the oars and navigate the canoe around these, with care.
Reach a hand out, over the canoe’s edge. Trail fingers through the water and touch an up-thrust, thick-gnarled root. The entire tree shivers, disintegrates, crumbles away. Fibrous bits and splinters drift and spiral down through the water, sift and settle to dust the stones nested within the riverbed below.