In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time. — Leonardo da Vinci
We just spent a few days parked at the Deschutes river, which was great, except that we were supposed to raft down river for three days with some good friends. Unfortunately we all got sick, like dominoes–first Sol, then me, and Tree. But it’s hard to complain without sounding like a child who’s whining that there’s no cherry on top of his sundae. After all, sick or not, we did just spend a few days on the Deschutes.
The Deschutes is a special river to both me and Tree, for different reasons. Eight years ago, Tree took me down the Deschutes for three days with Kiki. It was Kiki’s and my first river trip, ever. I absolutely LOVED it. I was a city girl gone wild. A year later, Tree took me down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon for 3 wks, and that trip changed my perspective in a monumental way. In fact, it was immediately after that trip that Tree and I moved into the van and started this nomadic life. But it all started with the good ole Deschutes. Kiki, however, was none to impressed, evidenced by the photo below. At one point, she actually tried to jump out of the boat and swim to shore. She was a little slower adapting to life outdoors–it’s hard when you’re black and furry and stickers get stuck in your paws–but she came around, eventually.
Unlike me, Tree grew up on the river. His dad used to own a rafting company called White Horse that took private groups down the Deschutes all summer long.
From around eight to sixteen years old, Tree and his brother worked for their dad. Their job was to guide the support raft that was loaded with kitchen supplies, tents, and dry-bags to camp, and set everything up before the clients arrived. Thinking of those two brothers, doubled up on the oars, scrawny and strong the way growing boys are, pushing through rapids as fast as they could together in the hot summer sun, makes my heart smile. These days Pa probably would’ve been arrested for child endangerment, or at the very least labeled an organic, free-range chicken. Wait, what??? I mean, parent. Free-range PARENT. We can’t label our food if it’s made with GMOs, but other parents, no problem.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, Tree’s Uncle Mick would also take the boys to the Deschutes river to kayak. Who knows how many days Tree surfed right here, on this same wave at Surf City, thirty years ago.
And, of course, kayaking led Tree to the JR World Championships and Olympic Development team, and then to starting Outdoorplay. It’s crazy to think how fertile some experiences are. A whole life can grow out them.
Which is why we were so excited to bring Soleil here. This short trip was her first of many to come.
And although we didn’t get to float down river with her in a raft, she still got to play at the shore…
And sit in Daddy’s boat….
And make sand castles with mama…..
And get good and dirty…
And see this magnificent butterfly!
The funny thing is, Sol was terrified of the ‘mariposa.’ And, yet, earlier, we started walking down a trail surrounded by tall grass, and a snake darted out and squiggled past us. I screamed to high heaven and immediately made us turn around, but Sol just whined because she wanted to keep going. “No pasa nada, Mama.”
But a butterfly, oh no.
I guess the butterfly got lucky. Tree always says that a bug’s worst nightmare is a 2 year old. She routinely picks up worms, beetles, and grasshoppers–any bug, really–and carries it around like it’s her best friend:“Hola bicho! Tienes hambre? Quieres comida? Tu eres muy guapo, bicho!” And, then, without fail, I hear her start to cry, “uh-oh, mi bicho esta muerto.” As if she’s not the one that squeezed the life out of it.
If you look carefully, you can see the butterfly flying while Soleil holds her her shovel out in terror, “No mariposa! NO!” She said it was trying “to get her.” Because that’s what butterflies do. They get people.
The good news is that we have another 3 day Deschutes raft trip planned at the end of August, this time with Pa and Nana. So maybe it all worked out for the best. Now Pa gets to be there on Soleil’s first descent down the Deschutes, which I know he’s real excited about. And, looks like Soleil is, too.