Nothing like the anticipation of a family vacation, which is only hours away. Of course, I packed the car last nite, and am repacking again this morning in order to facilitate the burning off of coffee energy.
We are heading up to the King's River for a multi-day whitewater rafting trip, and then dropping down to stay at a haunted Stagecoach Inn just outside of Sequoia NP. It's a chance for some family adventure where Kyle loses what little teenage surliness he has and Tami, the sweet & thoughtful artsy crafter can become The River Hag.
Now, I've loved this woman pretty much since June 6th, 1987, the day of our first date. She's optimistic, kind, embracing; the definitive ying to my yang... But, throw some sunscreen on her and put her on a raft and she changes I tell you.
She's been rafting for nearly 30 years and has done every thing from pirate trips down nearly dry trickles, to crazy insane Class V, nearly killed her rapids. Whether it be the Kings, the Colorado, Rio Grande, Kern- she's tackled them all. So when she took me on my first trip, I reasonably and chauvinistically expected to take the lead in such matters.
As I confidently surveyed the first rapid I would ever plunge, taking in the glory of the sight and sound, I was shocked to reality by someone forever known now as the River Hag. My serenity was burst by the hard slap of a paddle on my life jacket and a scream, really a screech, of "Paddle, you S.O.B.!" I looked back to challenge, but she who was sitting behind me was no longer the sweet Tami of dry land. Her face was covered by her beaten river hat; eye's blacked with the deep dark pools of sunglasses, and arms bulging with the adrenalin of potential danger. She had morphed into someone new. And, I dare not challenge
So, anyway, as the years have rolled by, much like the river's themselves, so has our family. Now Kyle gets to see Mom as the River Hag (though he might argue at times that it's like that for him more often). We joke about it and tell our stories by the campfire and poke some fun at this woman we both love. For our little family, it's one more piece of timeless family history.
The woodcut is a collaboration between a very talented artist, Lisa Cook, and I for a new design for our local art's network. It features our mountains, the historic Rim of the World Highway leading up, and our local landmark Arrowhead.