We cannot walk into the same river twice, for the waters are ever flowing on.
— Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
Nick, Nora, and I spend our last day in Portland with Nick’s best friend Jay, Jay’s two-egg twin Caroline, and their mother Jennifer.
Jay and his family have just moved to Portland, and our day at the children’s museum seems weighted with the awareness that when Nick returns to Fern Hill, Jay will no longer be there.
“You know,” Nick says to Jay at one point, “This is probably the last time we’ll see each other.”
“We’ll see each other when we come back at Halloween,” Jay says matter-of-factly.
“Plus you’ll be moving here in three years.”
A while later Nick and I share a moment alone.
“I wonder how you’re feeling about Jay,” I say.
As a Fern Hill dad, I’ve been trained in the sensitive way we must talk to kids.
“Dad,” Nick says to me, “Nobody is around forever. Your problem is you have to move on.”
I can’t tell if Nick is putting on a brave face or if he’s become self-actualized and is channeling Lucretius.
I for one am not self-actualized.
“My friend, you need to move to Portland,” Kyle commented on last week’s post. And Barbara.
What does everyone know that I don’t?
EXIT, PURSUED BY A DOG
After dinner at a riverside restaurant the six of us stand on a cliff looking over the water.
“Look!” Caroline says. “A beaver!”
We’re only a few minutes from downtown, but the Willamette is wild here. Far below us a beaver appears to be swimming across the river.
A dog jumps in and swims after him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a beaver in the wild, but I’m certain I’ve never seen one chased by a dog.
Half way across the beaver senses the dog and dives. The dog swims gamely on.
“I’ve never seen a dog swim across a river,” Jay says.
“I saw a penguin on roller-skates once on television,” I say to no one in particular.
A whistle from the shore and the dog turns around and paddles back. At any moment I expect him to give up and disappear, but he doesn’t give up. Far below us he emerges from the water, shakes himself out, and trots off with his human.
“Another day, another river?” I mutter as he disappears.
I’m a dog, he calls back. Not a comment on your life.
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I think that the river is a strong, brown god, The Dry Salvages (T.S. Eliot)
Speak to me of rivers. Just Add Father is listening. (Add your thoughts by clicking a few lines below below, where it says comments or add one. I always respond here.)
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