• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 12
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Between Two Rivers

In the gorge, I am caught between two rivers, one far above me and one curling below my feet. But I am not drowning. The winding river above the gorge, High River, glistens with star-fish in its azure opalescence. The small twitching stream below, Low River, remains black, mysterious, unyielding. The red, shadowed rocks of the gorge seem strong and stolid, but their curves tell of the gush of river water that could rush through at any moment. I imagine the night sky casting shadows on High River, but I cannot climb the smooth gorge walls to the river, and I could not swim through the river anyway.

This gorge between the rivers must be where the jackalopes live free of the pressures of our myths. My teachers told me that to be an artist I needed to understand nature, that of animals, of humans, and of Earth. Maybe I should have known a hike too far into nature would defy nature – or how we’ve come to expect it.

If water filled the gorge, the narrow, high walls would create a depth and density that would produce extraordinary speeds. For a brief moment High River and Low River would be one with the real river that's sometimes on the trail map, sometimes not. Its force would propel me through High River back to dry desert rock, night sky above. Hard to imagine where a desert gets all that water from, makes me think it's been holding back on us, just like it hid this secret nook above and below two rivers – neither of which are the one sometimes on the map. If I didn’t survive the force of the real river thrusting me through High River, I would stay swimming among the star-fish. The desert has mermaids, too, you know.


Between Two Rivers

Maybe you’ve never heard of High River and Low River. They are sisters to Styx, the distant cousins no one’s heard from in so long their names are forgotten to other rivers like Jordan, Nile, some stretches of the Mississippi, and if you’ve ever lived by a river and this nature sounds familiar to you, probably your river too. Here am I scribbling on the rock walls, so perhaps I’ve found some artistic roots after all. In truth, I’m lost, but it’s easier to be legendary.