Did you know that you can perceive genuine joy in a photograph? I’ve only recently discovered this delightful fact. I first noticed it while perusing my old college friend’s vacation photos. And then, more recently, in perusing my sister and brother-in-law’s Colorado vacation photos. My brother-in-law is someone who works way too hard—is never truly “off duty”. I know you know what I’m talking about. The one who’s cell phone rings at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve and he answers it; the one who brings his laptop to the Easter vacation because…clients. I’m not judging him, I’m just saying his work follows him around all hours of the day including holidays, nights and weekends. And I’m here to tell you from experience that even if you love your work, it’s still work. And some amount of a life outside of the work turns out to be beneficial, I think.
And my brother-in-law, judging from pictures, finally managed to create some separation from his work in their trip to Colorado. I’m not saying he’s a grumpy guy: he has fun, enjoys his family and his hobbies, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such joy portrayed on his face as I did in those vacation pictures.
I think this is why I love the rivers so much. I mean, the reason I fell in love with Appalachia in the first place was its rivers, and creeks, and mountains old enough to impart wisdom we could never understand. It’s hard for work to follow you there. It’s out there, immersed in the beauty of the natural world, with no cell phones or laptops (because technology and water don’t mix, right?!) to pull you back to that other reality called work, with nothing else to do but be in the moment, that joy is abundant.
This is true even of rivers that run through towns. Where you float beneath highways. Even there, the noise of the traffic fades into a background, buffered by trees and water and wildlife and the beauty below the pavement. Even there, the rivers are a refuge.
And so even when we’re plum exhausted from a wild week of running wide open in our work lives, when our minds tell us lies like” just chill out at home and watch a movie or two (if we stay home, we’ll find work to do), we try to defy that instinct and get on a river—even if it’s “just the Yadkin”. Because even if we think we’re too exhausted to do much more than lazily float, that brief separation from work provides access to the joy that sustains us for another week of running wide open.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.