A ripple–movement in my peripheral vision, a small wake defining a muskrat’s progress, its life defining a small portion of this river. I am absorbing, searching this limitless bend of the Snake, searching for its next gift. The oxbow is a stage, improvisational theatre, always pleasing, always unexpected. Her only requirement is patience.
Scanning the calm of the morning, I scan my past with this small bit of the Tetons—playing back memories. Tranquility, as a solitary pelican soared low over motionless water. Power, as a similar bird beat the air, lifting its weight above the surface. Aerial combat, as osprey and eagle fought over fish. A fish, lost in battle, tumbling to an unknown fate. I have tried to understand the level of comprehension required when an osprey hovered over a perched eagle, lowered its talons, displayed its catch, squawked and flew off. A battle won? Perhaps, but the war for aerial supremacy over the oxbow is not over.
I have laughed at otters, chuckled at beavers and been mesmerized as the stillness of the morning, the stillness of the water, reflected every detail of the Tetons beyond.
What if the Oxbow was not here? What if the Snake offered dramatic beauty? What if white water roared over rocks as it rounded this particular twist in the river? Would I be drawn by the drama? Would it hold its place in my life? Would it demand time?