There were times when I was a kid that I spent quite a bit of time fantasizing myself to Canada. As the crow flies, I was only about 5 miles from the lake. As a fish swims, it's considerably farther down the river, but I could get there eventually. I sent the Canadians messages in bottles, but the Canadians never called. I stole the bottles. The summer people next door had a storage area of such useless junk, and I didn't think they'd miss the bottles. Maybe the Canadians could sense my theft and their silence is a just karma?
As I pause to consider whether to talk about message bottles or theft, I remember the vividness of a memory that popped into my mind earlier this week. Jackie, Sis2's friend, stepped on broken glass in the river. Her foot was sliced very badly, and she did it on the wrong side of the river, downstream of civilization. My dad picked her up and carried her across the algae-slippery shale riverbed through the rapids, and then all the way home with Jackie weeping blood the entire time.
After they left, I studied the broken glass in the water. The clear glass blended with the clear water. Dancing reflections of current camouflaged the shining reflections of the glass. It was beautiful and dangerous. I picked it up and threw it into the woods in a place where no one would step on it again. My parents made a new rule that we had to wear shoes in the river after that, a rule I greatly resented, seldom followed, and probably explains why I lost so many shoes.
Why do I remember this so clearly? And why did this moment pop into my mind so vividly this week?
I tracked my associated memories for a connection. Older boys drank beer and threw their bottles across the river, laughing at the shattering sound, never considering a child's sliced foot. Perhaps their thoughtless, selfish, stupid behavior was stirred in my memory as I see the same kind of behavior in politicians or some people I know? Maybe I feel guilt at all those messages to Canadians sent in stolen glass bottles? Maybe there's a danger I can't see through glittering reflections?
Six years ago, I wrote another post about sending negative thoughts down the river in paper boats. You can see it here. Creating that post seems as clear in my mind as Jackie's bleeding foot. I think everything we've experienced is still in our heads somewhere, and sometimes I wonder why.