Day 25 - Part 2
The river water is cold, but only takes a moment getting used to. The section where I am is shaded by trees. I soak myself, dry off in the sun, and soak myself again. I eat in the shade watching kids play. Boys are moving rocks, buildings dams. Girls are floating.
I am back in the water staring at minnows and colorful rocks along the bottom. When I see something particularly interesting I pull it up for inspection. Nothing big, just passing time. I'm bent over, my hands on my knees looking, when a black head of hair floats under me. "What are you looking for?" says a young assertive girl's voice.
"Oh, anything interesting, like this," I say holding out a rock I had in my hand. She inspects it closely then looks intently into the water. A moment later she lunges in and pulls up three small rocks.
"Like these?" A statement and a question in one.
"Yes. You have a good eye and an interesting technique." I tell her, amused by her enthusiasm. She scans the river bed moored next to my leg.
Another girl, a little more talkative and looking older appears. I assume they are sisters. They are not. The older girl explains the family tree. She spends time describing one boy not yet at the campground who she is smitten by. Ah, young campground love.
I ask Black Hair how old she is. "Nine. But I am going to be ten SOON!" She didn't say when, but I felt it was imminent. We then tried to catch minnows with our bare hands. My technique was to let my hand lie on the bottom waiting for a small fish to swim over the palm. I would then scoop it up out of the water to reveal no fish had been caught. Black Hair found my results a disappointment. She adopted the technique of full body lunge and scoop. She came up with handfuls of rocks, but no fish.
We went back to looking for rocks. We did this intently for about five minutes. While I was bending down close to the water, Black Hair put her head against mine. It was an arresting moment. After a few seconds, I pulled back and asked if she found anything interesting. She held out her hand displaying a rock which had a definite face pattern. "That's a keeper" I said. "I know" she replied.
The night cooled down and sleep was good. I saw Black Hair the next morning walking from her campsite. She still had on her pink bathing suit and the green float around her waist, as if she slept in them. I waved. She waved back without opening her fingers, then turned her palm up. She was holding the rock.
Who knows what to make of moments like this? I don't. But I am glad they occur.