I have managed to get up onto the log many times but only occasionally have sustained standing, no less walking and running as it tumbles in the current. It is exhilarating and whelming to sustain that pace as it rolls. Progress at two scales: the immediate step-after-step that keeps me fixated on the task at hand; and then the warm, dry travel down the river toward the places I want to be, things I want to have done. Yes! I shout at the mist flailing off the bark. Sometimes it feels like music and I am playing the log like an instrument, or dancing. The beautiful edge of chaos. The timelessness of flow.
It can last, but it doesn’t.
Eventually, a rock or a ripple or a wind or even my cocky dithering attention allows a waver, then a wobble, then a roll that oscillates beyond my control. I am wet. The water is cold. I must start the process over again. Find the log. Cling to it. Take a moment to breathe. Assess the upcoming rapids. Pull myself up onto a rolling cylinder, which by my very pulling spits me back to where I started. Groping. Clamouring. Tiring. Daunting. Resting. Repeat.
It seems that others are able to manage this with greater focus and organization. Obsession is not a natural state for me. On the contrary, I am a satisficer, quick to doubt the necessity of making it down river upright and dry and warm. Clinging to the log still gets me there, so what if I am soaked and cold? I can be a petulant child vainly trying to deny the tormenter the pleasure in my demise: I don’t need your stupid log, nyah!
But I do. I will drown, as eventually we all do, succumbing to the effort and drifting into the long sleep. But before that day, upright, dry, warm, and singing and whelmed is worth the effort.
Today I started clamouring again.