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Eddy Line

By Ann Driggers

In the mountains the air is cold, the sky is full of ragged clouds, grey like raw wool, and snow has fallen on rotting leaves and barren trees. Winter is closing in and autumn has fled down river, to the desert where the light is still bright and the trees are blazing. We follow the eddy line, the seam between the seasons, as far as we can in western Colorado and beyond.  We take to the river, for what better way to experience the remainder of fall and, if we are honest, hanker for the summer that is gone. 

The cottonwood trees at rivers edge are on fire. Bald eagles, more than we can count, settle in to overwinter. They perch still and majestic on the dark gnarled branches amongst the ochre leaves, watching as we silently glide beneath on the languid river. 

In thick golden light we camp. Kick off shoes, dig and wriggle our toes in the cool sand. The song of a canyon wren cascades down the walls as the river quietly flows on. 

In the evening hours, as shadow settles over the earth, the departing sun paints the colors of the desert into the sky. 


The dark curtain of the cool night falls as the Hunter's moon burns bright above. We gather around a fire, warm light flickering on the canyon walls.


Sunrise gilds the river. A heron wades in shallow waters while high above a formation of honking geese fly south. We will the sun closer as the line of warmth creeps ever so slowly towards us shivering in the shade.

Plying the oars we take to the river again. We emerge from the deep fissure in the earth and into open pastures. The sky is bigger here and all around, the sun is warm and I am thinking I will never get tired of looking at golden leaves and the big blue sky and floating on the river. And I am thinking how can it be the winter will come and chase away the fall?

 And just as I am thinking all this, it ends. Our eddy line is no more and we take out for the final time.


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