27 miles, 5 adventure buddies, 2 water falls and one spirit boy:
Last time we tried to run the North Fork of the Crooked river I was 4 or 5 months pregnant with Magnus and Spirit B. I ended up turning around due to low water conditions, and my pregnant self was not into an epic. Jason and Daniel pressed on determined to finish out the mission, but they were only able to paddle 2 of the 27 miles, hiking the rest in the riverbed. I was happy about my decision.
2 years later, we went back with our “suffer team” – a group of adventure buddies that are keen to wake at 3 am and go on Jason’s missions. And a Jason mission means that more-often-than-not the reality is far different than the “best case imagination”. I have learned that you always need to be ready for anything. Of course a big part of you is hopeful and optimistic, but the realistic part of you needs to be prepared for the worst.
This particular mission turned out to be what we call “fairy tale text book” – the water clear, beautiful, plentiful, and most importantly paddle-able all the way. The scenery was top notch with lichen painted canyon walls, literally hundreds of spires, and two beautiful water falls.
Spirit B came to me many times through out the day. He said that he was happy to be out there with us that day and that he was always with us (he constantly reminds me of this). Jason spread some of him at the last waterfall. Afterwards a white butterfly with blue lined wings came fluttering by. “I love you, I love you, I love you” I whispered.
“It is both happy and sad” – Jason said as we got back into our boats.
“Yep” I nodded knowingly, as we always do to each other in these moments.
Because it is exactly that.
2 years ago Spirit B was prepping me. I was expecting to go on an amazing 2 day river trip with friends and him and Magnus in my belly. Yet, the river was too low to force it thru. Now 2 years later, his brother playing at home with his Nanny and Grandpa while Spirit B adventures with us. He stares back from the reflections of the water, whispering to us in the wind, and sending messages on the wings of the butterflies and hawks.
He gives us many gifts everyday like these every single day. All we have to do is stop and listen to the spaces in between the rapids. I am forever grateful for this time with him and for these friends who are comfortable in the silence with us.
Thank you Spirit B for our new perspective and thank you friends near and far for holding us in your hearts.