The philosopher Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” (This is equally true for women.)

For the better part of 18 years I lived less than a one-minute walk from the most rafted river in America. Not once did I ever take a raft trip down that river. But I did spend countless tens of thousands of hours going for walks alongside that river and stopping to sit and contemplate the river and commune with it.

My dog was usually at my side. Unlike most dogs, she was deathly afraid of water and would never set foot in the river. Maybe it was because she was an arctic dog (mostly). In the arctic going in the water can mean freezing to death. Or maybe it was because of that past-life we spent together in which both of us drowned together in the icy, wintry Ohio River. I don’t know.

But why I never rafted that river is something I cannot explain. After all, I’m not afraid of water (despite having drowned in at least 3 other lives). I sure love rivers, though, and really, really miss living just half a block from one. There is no better way to chill out than communing with a river.

Earthling — Lifelong novelist & essayist —

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