Monday, June 20, 2011

Haw Haw Haw

One of my days in North Carolina was free of appointments so I went wandering. I packed a couple bottles of water, grabbed my camera, and headed for the Haw. The Haw River, that is.

One of the things that charmed me about this area, aside from all the greenery and trees, is the proximity of water. There's a certain loamy, rich, fecund scent about freshwater areas that I love, and I almost instantly relax when I smell it. Probably because almost every place I've called home (and meant it) has had it.

Oregon City, OR—home for essentially the first 20 years of my life—had the Clackamas, the Willamatte, the Molalla, and of course the Columbia Rivers nearby. Long summer weeks and weekends spent camping on the Chetco River near Brookings, OR—where dad called home, and I visited during school vacations until my teens. And hot summer days spent swimming in the Umpqua River after dad moved to Myrtle Creek, OR. I still get to visit the Umpqua when I travel to Roseburg see mom; even though I don't swim in it any more, I still enjoy the smell of it as I roll into town.

Then there's the Bay Area. I've been here for the last 19 years. And that smell is hard to find. Sure, there's the Bay, but that's marshy saltwater; an altogether different smell. And not always pleasant. There was a brief period when I lived in West Sacramento and attended school in Davis. Back then my apartment was near the banks of the Sacramento River and the Delta. Summer evenings when the breeze would carry the smells of the river in through my window were the best.

At any rate, I've been wanting to explore the Haw more on previous trips but didn't really have the time and the weather wasn't particularly cooperative in January and April.

There's a weir on the Haw that's visible and accessible from the highway and I decided to go for it. I'm sure some would call me a fool, setting off alone on a 95° day, in the afternoon sun, wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to explore a new area. But it was worth it.

There was an easy, well-worn path to the weir.

Upstream the river seemed lazy, just like a river should on a hot day.

Below the weir.

Freshwater clams. I also saw lots of fish fry and even a baby turtle.

By this point I was doing some serious sweating, so I decided to take off my shoes and socks, roll up my pant legs, strip off the long-sleeved shirt (I had a tank top underneath) and wade out into the river. (Partly to cool off, but also to get a different perspective.)

Hoofies in the Haw.

Playing Frogger on the rocks to get out in the stream.

I don't know if this is kudzu vine or not, but it is absolutely everywhere.

Positively placid from upstream.

It made me think of an infinity pool.

I just liked all the angles and the way this portal onto the Haw was framed.

I had a little internal dialog with myself about wading out into the river. Should I? Shouldn't I? It's filthy. My feet will get all muddy when I get out. What if I slip? This is the second time I've had one of these internal dialogs with myself while in NC. On our last trip I was debating about walking across a deadfall over the little stream behind the house.

These conversations with myself are more than a little annoying. Growing up I wouldn't have hesitated to ponder the what ifs. And if the log broke or I slipped into the river? What of it? I may end up with a couple scrapes ad bruises, but nothing disastrous would happen. (Okay, I might completely toast a camera, but other than that...)

I've never really thought of my younger self as particularly fearless, but that was what crossed my mind during these conversations. And what would eventually propel me to do what I was considering. And conquering those moments of doubt was awesome. (It also helped that no one was around to see me if I screwed up!)

So I've been having another ongoing conversation—what is it exactly that I'm doubting or afraid of?

Am I afraid of failing if I try something? Yes, I know that's a part of it. It's been a big part of my life actually. Fear of failure has kept me from attempting many, many things. Fear of what other people think of me is a part of it too, though not as big. Other than the people closest to me, I don't really care what other people think.

Do I doubt my abilities? Yes, I do. My body is simply not the same as it used to be. I definitely have doubts about whether or not I can depend on it to do some of the things I want to do. Part of that is just age, but a bigger part of that has been me not taking care of myself.

I do not want to doubt my body. I don't want to hesitate to cross a stream because I don't think my body can make the 3 foot jump. I don't want to not try kayaking because I don't know if I have the upper arm strength to paddle back. I don't want to not try to climb a boulder because I don't know if my legs will support me.

So, on that note, I'm going to go get on my elliptical machine and go nowhere fast, for about 30 minutes. I am tired of doubting myself. And I am tired of not trying new things.

1 comment:

  1. SWEET! I like the results of your internal dialogue.