Friday, July 26, 2019

Swept Up in the Solitude

Just today, as I lay in an inner tube floating down a river, my eyes drawn toward the sharp blue sky, the mountains and dark green trees surrounding me, I thought, this isn't so bad. Maybe I've found some peace in this solitude that is the Berkshires.
I walked back and snapped a few pictures after the inner tubing experience
This is the second time that we have gone inner tubing. It isn't complicated. It is just like it sounds. We get in an inner tube and relax down the river for an hour or two. If the sun beats down, it doesn't matter because the water splashes up. It's a lot less work than kayaking, and being down in the inner tube makes it seem less dangerous than perching on a raft.
The river is most of the time just a bed of rocks scrubbed smooth by waters. But on four days a week, a reservoir releases water and the river has enough water for kayakers, rafters and inner tubers. It's strange to call and ask when the water will be released and then to time when the river will be passable. But that's life in the Berkshires, apparently.
A lot of the river is smooth, the buoyancy of the inner tube floating along, allowing time for contemplation of my plastic shoes that stick from the end of the tube.
But in places, as the water bounces over those smooth stones, the water becomes frothy and white as the tube is rushed through. You can hear the sound before you see the turbulence. Of course, I'm usually turned around so I have to struggle to right myself before the water sweeps me away. I bark out a laugh as a wave sweeps up wetting my hair. Most of the time, the water isn't that agitated. It kind of feels like being on a log flume, not the big downhill parts though.
I don't take my phone along, so this is another part of the solitude.
Here's a sun-streaked selfie in my #teamlydia t shirt for my nephew's little girl who was in the hospital at the time. 
Last time we did it, Earl and I shared a double tube. We could talk about life when the river didn't need our attention.
Today, we had individual tubes and didn't come within arm's reach of each other most of the two-hour trip. Sometimes he was ahead, sometimes I was ahead. We'd raise a hand hello across the expanse of water.
Once I ran aground on a big rock in the middle of the river. That's gonna leave a bruise. But I pushed myself off with my feet and kept going.
In my head, I still imagined that the trip would be better with a soundtrack -- my soundtrack. And at one point I did wonder if I could read a book the next time I was out there floating, but I decided it was kind of like running, a time when you had to make peace with the stuff running through your head.
Inner tubing makes you feel like you've communed with nature, that you've done something athletic when you really haven't. You've lain in a river for a few hours, occasionally reaching out an arm to paddle.
It's something I like about the Berkshires though, so I'll stick with it.


Noreen said...

Sounds delightful!

Paulita said...

Noreen, Yes, you would love it here. It's just your scene, and I'm adjusting.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

A lot of people come to the rivers of Central Texas to tube. I've done it a couple of times, and I think it's one of the most relaxing things I've ever done.

Paulita said...

Deb, Yes, it is. Is there always water in the rivers there? I think of Texas as being dry.

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