Down, past a small field of tall dry grass, thorn shrubs, parched dirt and the occasional tree lays a young river. Shielded by great towering vine trees, this rush of water is often over looked by the average person. But if you know what lies beyond that field of yellow and brown, beyond those dark looming trees, then each time you walk along the road and veer to the left you can’t help but feel the excitement and anticipation of what is to come. For each day the river changes, surprising you with its chest full of treasures. During the dry season you might find a waterless riverbed covered with the most beautiful rocks and skeleton leaves, or during the wet season the river might be gushing with water waiting for you to grab a vine and swing. It is easily said that the river is probably not the most calm and beautiful place one could ever know, yet somehow using its unknown magic it clasps ahold of your heart and mind making you want to travel no place else but the river.
During the wet season, when the field is still scorched, the narrow river fills up with just the right amount of water. The tremendous trees produce the best vines. Knotting each small vine with the next around an old, thick and sturdy one, the trees creates a vine strong enough to carry our weight but flexible enough to swing well. There is always mud on the riverbanks, so soft and mushy that you purposefully fall into it. Feeling and looking much like chocolate mousse, when you first arrive to this place, you feel guilty for treading on the perfectly molded dirt. The tributary’s water is nearly always murky but when it is clear we stand in the water where the most tadpoles live and count how many creatures edge near to our feet and then swim away disappearing between the masses of roots dangling in the water. The trees that line the riverbanks seem to be forever green. They are always sprouting new vines and new braches just waiting for us to climb to the top of their colossal arms and sit quietly, letting the tree cradle us, as we watch a troop of monkeys eat a mass of fruits then chuck the pips into the water or observe hundreds of bats awake from their slumber and prepare for the night’s flight.
But during the dry season our little river begins to change. Slowly the water will disappear and the trees will stop sprouting new branches, the monkeys leave to a temporary new home but the bats do stay. And although all things magical of the river had disappeared along with its fresh cool water, it allows us to see what else, what other magic lies beneath what we had seen before. The river displays its bed, with rocks eroded smoothly, perfectly into spheres and other odd shapes. Glued fast and tight to those rocks are the skeletons of dead leaves, showing off their beautifully intricate veins. With its water gone, the river lets you sit between the multitudes of tree roots, quietly reading a book whilst the trees hug you with their feet. But most magical of all is if you are to follow the river quite far, just past where the vine trees stop growing. You will find yourself surrounded by shrubs with flowers and tall green grass. It is the one place you will find thousands of weed-flowers and just admire their beauty. Butterflies, the true jewels of the river, flutter around everywhere so beautifully that you feel out of place, and naughty for disturbing this utopia.
There is no spring or autumn here, only the wet and dry seasons, also known as summer and winter. You cannot see the changing colors in the leaves, or flowers rising up out of the snow. But during the time when the seasons are not distinct, when you are not quite sure if it is summer or winter, the river does change in ways that are maybe not as beautiful but certainly just as magical. It seems as if during this time the river truly comes to life. This is the time when the frogs scattered along the river sing with their deep coarse voices the loudest, the bats shriek the highest and the monkeys eat the most. The tree leaves seem to glow greener at this moment. It is at this time that the river calls to you with more intensity. Come see the water begin to disappear or fill up again. Come watch how the animals appear once more or leave for the winter. Look at how the magical place of butterflies and weed-flowers comes back to life or hides for the summer. Just see that the vines are perfect for swinging now, now is the time do something crazy. Dangle your feet when you swing across the river and feel that cool biting cold-water splash up into your face. The mud is just thick enough to throw at your friend. Please visit me now; let the trees cradle you before you leave for school.
During the school months the river waits holding onto all of its beauty and majesty. I always long for the river and wait impatiently for the time to pass by. But the moment I am free I run down the road, veer left, travel past the field and I stand by the river. Taking in all the changes, all the magic I had missed. See the vines, the leaves, the mud, the animals, the trees, the water, and everything. Then I run down the banks to be with my river once again.