Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Take Me to the River

So if I can't have the ocean, at least there's the river.

It's high summer in the south, meaning it was already 90 degrees when I left the house at 10:15, but there was a fine breeze as I zig-zagged my way to Brown's Island trying to stick mostly to shady streets.

Once on Brown's Island, I saw a crew working on the stage but it was hard to tell if they were dismantling it or setting it up. I know Friday Cheers is over, so perhaps there's something else on the horizon. One guy was singing at the top of his lungs as he hammered.

Of course, the best part of being on the island was that I was that much closer to the cooler breezes coming off the water as I made a bee-line for the pipeline walkway.

The first thing to catch my eye as I trudged down the sandy path to the river was a full-size tent set up under the trestle. I've noticed people living under some of the concrete overhangs further on before, so maybe this is their summer home.

Given how dry it's been, I had no fear that the pipeline walkway would be underwater and it wasn't; in fact, it was exposed as much as I've seen it in a year. And the walkway was uncrowded so I didn't pass any other people until I got near the beachy stretch and saw two men, one on the sand, another on the walkway.

Just past them, I slid down off the walkway to the little sandy beach intending to stick my feet in the water.

First thing I saw was pure Richmond: a girl's red underwear and a guy's black briefs hanging from a tree branch at the water's edge. Only thing missing were crushed PBR cans.

Just as I was removing my shoes, the guy on the walkway called down to warn me that he'd seen a snake down where I was. I appreciate the information but don't be harshing my mellow, sir.

The guy on the beach meanwhile was moving around looking for the varmint and eventually called over to me saying there was no sign of it so it was probably long gone.

Good thing because I intended to put my legs in the water anyway, despite how unnaturally warm it was. It was sure no ocean, but it was wet.

Trekking back over the pipeline, I came face to face with a small group who looked terrified that we had to pass each other on the narrow, rounded pipe. They decided to stand stock-still and I breezed by as one said, "I didn't expect other people to be here!"

When I heard rushing water near the rapids I climbed out on a series of rocks for a better view, waving to friends on the southside working hard this morning on the other side of the river and completely unaware of me.

As I made my way back across Brown's Island, I saw a couple doing push-ups and sit-ups on the steps in the sun, no doubt sweating buckets to get fit.

Bless their hearts. When it's this kind of hot, a walk by the river is more than enough exercise for some of us.

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