The magical world of things.
It was our lone family vacation for the summer. A season marked with tremendous transition and what felt like, dramatic conditions for grow-ing. We drove the short distance north up the Middle Fork of the Payette in the Boise National Forest. With a rented fishing pole and a cheap cup of worms - sans tackle box. The pavement just NE of Banks, Idaho along the South Fork, was soon replaced with loose gravel and then a powdery compacted dirt that sprayed in all directions as we drove. The road bumpy and unstable. We passed several campgrounds, looking for one that had a vacancy. We settled on Trail Creek - where the road forks in two directions; one toward Boiling Springs and the other in the direction of Silvercreek Plunge. The tent went up quick. The density of things unloaded and spread out everywhere. We gathered wood and carved sticks for cooking evening marshmallows. Then we traveled back down the road we came from, looking for a spot to cast the rod. The first place was a narrow canyon where the tributary to the Payette descended steeply amongst boulders. A fallen tree provided a bridged crossing to a pooled area of water, where there might be some sleepy trout. The nervous, smaller feet of my children were reluctant to cross. We went further down into a bending part of the river, where the water was shallow and moved at the pace of a slow breath. I placed children on my back and we moved through the water to a large rock, planted in the middle of the water. Without hook and weight, we attached a cool, moist worm to a clip and threw the dangling life into the silver water, glowing in the late evening sun. My children didn't understand we would not be catching anything with that setup. Impatience soon found us and then was replaced by a calm stillness. Mesmerized by the worm unraveling and then coiling in the flowing current. We imagined wrestling a fish in; cooking it over the fire and filling our bellies with its wildness. But this never happened. We were filled with something else. The peace of a moment that tranquilized our hungry hearts. So much quietness and yet the beauty of something unspeakably loud. Cascading through us, from our fingertips into our eyelids and pouring down our bodies. Connecting us to something primitive. And yet ephemeral. We pulled the line back in, unhooking the pink flesh of earthworm from the clip; my children impressed by its resilience - living through all that dark coldness and the puncture wound of the clip it dangled from...what that creature must have thought or felt out there in that world of stark mystery. What you or I must feel out there in that same world, shrouded by uneven lines and noise and weight. Substantial things. We moved gently across the water and made our way back up to the road. The sound of whitewater from up the canyon engulfing us in this deeply beautiful mystery of living inside and yet outside of things. The mystery living inside of us; us living inside of it. A feeling of humility humming in my bones. "This kind of magic", I whisper, "...is salvation for this creature's soul."