It swirled to the left around this rock, and to the right around that one. The water making soft water donuts and crescent moons beyond the rocks.
I sat in a little donut of my own. Inflatable, classic blue and white, the same inner tube everyone else had. I pulled my cowboy hat over my face and let my head snuggle against my little headrest.
I could see a little fluffy cloud through the holes in my hat and tried to keep it in view as I slid softly round and round, barely making it downstream. It hung on a hook in the sky. The Stationary Shapeshifter. A flag, a sea turtle, a frog, a moose.
It was a low water year. The tubing was often more walking than floating, but it didn’t matter. We drank our PBR sometimes in companionable silence, sometimes with contagious laughter dancing through the trees.
A little smile as I took a picture of my feet framing the backdrop of a lush, tree-filled mountainside. And a video that couldn’t hope to do the river justice. The cooler floated over to me and I clipped it to my tube and pulled out another beer. My turn.
The twelfth perfect day in that still-early summer.
I think back to tubing the Truckee River. My haven, my little blue sliver of solace, my favorite part of summer.
Now my sweet, innocent river is full of rage. Rebellious and ornery after the long, long winter. Muddy and angry, frothing and hungry. Chewing up trees, leaping up to gnaw on bridges, tumbling boulders around and around – crushing them, making new sand. I want my happy, floaty, dreamy, beer-laden summer back.
But the world has other plans. For now.
So now I keep floating, swirling to the left through the Truckee’s eddies in my dreams.