She eased herself down on the same boulder that jutted out into the water, feeling the rush of the heat of the sun, the ice cold river, and the searing nostalgia that settled in fast. She had been here years before, at the beginning of a journey that has no end. She could always remember where it began.
She remembers the sequence of events as they played out that last time, so closely resembling yet so far away (thank god) from this experience. Both times she had driven up from Taos, both times set up camp at the top of an immense cliff, cooking dinner over a fire and staring at the clearest sky she’d ever seen.
In the morning they’d pack up and descend the arduous trail into the center of the gorge. The differences in these experiences now was remarkable to her, the first time she grew heavier as she plodded down the mountain- safe with a friend she loved but struggling to find the words to express the weight that compressed her chest more and more the deeper she climbed into the canyon.
“This is supposed to be freeing,” she thought, and when they finally arrived at the icy rushing river that had carved time into the hard rocks, they were sweaty and dusty and hot. They stripped off all of their clothes and waded in, breath catching as they made their way towards two giant, flat rocks perhaps ten feet apart. They sprawled naked in the hot sun, limbs dangling into the ancient rumbling bath around them.
There was enough noise for this to be a private yet shared experience, and as she lay down that first time, feeling her body cradled by the earth, her mind tumbled by the sound of the river, the fear finally left her and she let some of what she had been terrified of feeling rush through her veins. Her eyes mixed their salted grief with the ancient minerals of the rocks, her heart cracked open just a little bit more- not to let in, but to let out the light contained within her.