Humanity and I, we are on a short tether.
I awoke this morning as happy as I have ever been.
My heart was full of gratitude for my husband, my children, my relationships with friends and
I was fully aware of the comfort and order and opportunities that are mine.
I decided not to question if I deserved it or ask why of all the humans on this planet I have these
I thought I could enjoy bliss just a little longer.
I made a plan to share my secret pleasure.
I had been slipping down to the river for my own enjoyment…a swim, a paddle, time for
meditation and observation.
I wanted my husband to feel it. I wanted my sons to understand, so that love would be part of
them too. My daughter, of course I want to share with her as well but as a teenager, she chooses
her own path and often chooses not to allow me to share mine.
We made a plan that my husband would launch the paddle board in the river below our house and
come downstream to a nice beach where I would meet him with the boys after cycling there.
Then we would give them all a chance to paddle.
I explained to my sons before we left that in the afternoon people will expect shrieks and laughter
when splashing in the water but the morning is for quiet serenity.
People who are out early are seeking peace and if we go to the river in the morning we should be
a part of that peace and listen to the beauty of the morning.
The boys remembered…mostly.
My husband came down the river and was dumped in the whirlpool and made us laugh.
Then he paddled about with each of the younger children teaching them how to dip and pull and
keeping them safe.
Everyone was happy and had a chance on the water and I watched.
I had my swimming suit on under my clothes and was waiting for the right moment when
motherhood could pause and I could play a little.
I thought it might happen after everyone was back in their dry clothes and had a snack.
My husband headed downriver at the beginning of that process.
The boys snacked and skipped rocks and looked at the hundreds of tiny fish.
Then a group of young men arrived.
They chattered away in a tight dialect. I caught English, but it was fast and with a different rhythm
and I couldn’t follow the accent.
They changed into their swimming suits and went to splash in the river which seemed innocuous
My husband came back up-river and told us that it was time to go home for lunch as he paddled
by us. I waited a bit, letting my sons play, because I still hadn’t had my swim.
The young men then began soaping and shampooing their bodies, scrubbing themselves over
and under vigorously.
This bizarre behaviour startled and disturbed me and I whistled for my boys to come and told them
we were going home.
All my emotions were messed up now. Happiness had fled.
I didn’t feel safe or sure.
Why were these people bathing in the river? They had clean fluffy towels and clean clothes.
Why hadn’t they been taught that this behaviour wasn’t appropriate?
Didn’t they know that it wasn’t good for the fish?