At Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort, a river runs through it.
Right now, the river is coursing, rushing madly down from a glut of snowmelt and intense rains. In recent days, they’ve had to sandbag, and then, rather dramatically, dredge.
I went through an entire sequence of mental dredging yesterday…is that the term they use when looking for bodies in a lake? A river? Dredging? It seems close, but not quite right. Dragging? Dragging. Yes? They dive when they look for bodies. That’s not a job I would want.
When I was in college I worked a summer at a Boy Scout Camp on the east coast. I served as the Arts and Crafts Leader and also as a lifeguard. The Arts and Crafts cabin was in the center of the camp and I had my pick of construction paper, pipe cleaners, egg cartons, crayons, glue, child scissors. I was given a stack of craft projects and pretty much free rein. The last day of the camp, I drew a huge group portrait of all the little boys.
Little boys basically function as blurs. They’re in constant motion and get into everything. But for some reason, if you tell them you’re going to draw their picture, they become absolute clay. And a collective clay, at that.
As a lifeguard, I had to participate in emergency drills. Without warning, an alarm would sound over the camp P.A. and the lifeguards would drop everything they were doing, rush down to the docks, hurl ourselves into the water, and search for a sandbag that was meant to double for a child. The lake was murky and the sunlight pressed to reach beyond the first few feet of depth.
Underwater, I strained to open my eyes, craning around in the silt for the sandbag. I wanted to find it, but also, I really really didn’t. Even if we raced, even if we flew into the water, even if we managed to find that child in moments, by that time, by the time the alarm had sounded, that child would not have taken in a breath for a very long time.
This river that’s currently filling my ears with rush seems fantastical. That somehow, at some point, it should stop. But down it comes, endorsed by gravity and force and oblivion. It rushes as if it’s late.
Up here, in the hinterlands of Utah, there’s chlorophyll for days. This is my third time on the mountain, and it’s always a lightening, a release getting out of the city. Here, my phone feels like an anvil, and my iPad a Star Trek device.
Whenever I insert myself into nature, my ambitions take on a different cast. If only I could compose symphonies.