Sitting on the banks of the South Fork Eel River below the Highway 1 bridge near Leggett California. Currently on the All Terrain Mat in the shade of some alders, cottonwoods, and of course the Redwood trees. THe river whispers and murmers to my right. I sit naked after a swim.
I remember kayaking this section many years ago - the large house-sized, metamorphosed boulders - white and black stripes of chert-like dark rock - the pillows they threw up were beautiful arcing airplane turns in a kayak. The River was high - had to be for that section -- the put-in was on Rattlesnake Creek -- south from here, just north of Laytonville. The waves and holes were massive as I remember - rocketting down through the rainy green gorge - bathed in the mist of thrashing water.
It's not high now. It's more creek-like. There is much algal growth in its waters. Small river worms are stuck to my hairs -the suit of red hair that I wear. Some little riparian nematodes have hitched a ride on my filaments. They have reached out and made contact. They are life from the river which is an artery in the body of the earth from which I just emerged. . .
I experiment with the current as I often do in gentle rivers like this. I immerse myself belly down, facing upstream, gripping slippery rocks and pulling myself further up into the current. I navigate as a prone and flowing river creature, pulling myself across the current into the central flow of the river where it is most powerful. I then point my feet together and let them be swept straight downstream aligning my spine with the flow of the more powerful force of the water. I grip two rocks that are a little more than my shoulder's width apart and arch my back, opening my chest and heart to the current. The water pulses and surges against the skin of my chest as I arch upwards, bringing, my head back, opening into "cobra", a yoga pose - a back bend. This opens my heart and body to the water. It does. No metaphor.
Cobra in the River brings the waters energy straight into my chest - into my heart. I do not have any science to prove this, but I feel that there in that pose and with the right frame of mind , I can feel more open to the spirit - the essence of the water - and with that comes the wisdom and the substance of all the land upstream - all of the detritus, the grains of sand, insect bodies, fish poo and pee, raindrops, snowflakes, sunshine, sacred ancient groundwater, pure flowing spirit river - the redwood forests, the bears, the lions, the racoons, beavers, eagles and coyotes of that upper drainage - I open my heart to all of that and welcome it into my chest.
Rivers are collectors - sacred dust-bins. They are synthesizers, dissolvers, decomposers, eroders. They bring all of these gifts, blessings, bits of everything — down and through this canyon. So I, floating in cobra pose with my chest and heart open to that flow, I receive that - I receive all those gifts and that essence. And that essence speaks and moves as LIFE. The life of the planet.
Soaking in Earth blood. Soaking in a vein of the sacred body of the Earth.