My feet are still warm from shoes. The river is steps ahead. The core dragging chill of the compacted slick of dark mud I launch my first step from is not enough to truly forewarn of the pleasurable flare of chill, hiss-gripping my shoulders. A frisson, goosebumps, then all dissolves, sleeting back through my body in a down-sigh.
Irish rivers receive just a suggestion of heat close to their sources, autumn bronze barely heated by a passing breath. The warmer the day, the clearer that sense of stepping into something other becomes, your body remains cloaked in a warm, slow buzz while your feet clink, crystalline, in the racing water. I step those large, slooshing, surging steps until this river stretches before me between two walls of granite, folding upwards and outwards, a falling open book. Where I stand the water churns and gushes, path narrowed, forced to quit the silent, stealthy stretches I’m admiring. I perch on a convenient rock in this minor turmoil, its face reddened curiously with markings designed for better readers, and enjoy the pummeling of my feet.
Away from me, still on the bank, behind, to the left and slightly above I am aware of my companion dapple-bathing, breathing in a slower world of drifting, ambered leaves and slight stirred, sun torn cobwebs. Large thoughts, it seems, perhaps without shape, but certainly they have mass.
In my own half world I watch the rings the small fish poke onto the glass page, watch tiny leaf and seed drift, glimmer-twitch the surface and sail. A god could tell you secrets in a space like this, slow whispered in your ear as time surges past your feet. You could awake years later, clear of mind, content and still in mind, blood surging though your body to do and make and think and feel.