I have not really, not yet, talked with otter about his life.
He has so many teeth, he has trouble with vowels.
Wherefore our understanding is all body expression-
he swims like the sleekest fish,
he dives and exhales and lifts a trail of bubbles.
Little by little he trusts my eyes
and my curious body sitting on the shore.
Sometimes he comes close.
I admire his whiskers and his dark fur which I would rather die than wear.
He has no words, still what he tells about his life is clear.
He does not own a computer.
He imagines the river will last forever.
He does not envy the dry house I live in.
He does not wonder who or what it is that I worship.
He wonders, morning after morning, that the river is so cold and fresh and alive, and still
I don't jump in.
I have spoken often of the Ichetucknee, a spring fed river that in the summer is so cold that you have to clamp down on all fear and just jump in. If one does so, there are great rewards.
Under the surface there are the sleek fish that with grace, you can sometimes touch.
At the surface are the croaking limpkins and the murmuring wood ducks who do not startle as you swim by them, listening.
Above the surface the Osprey look at you and you imagine you might fool them into thinking that you are a fish, so wondrous it feels to be part of the river for hour after hour. Or perhaps the eagle could mistake you for a bird and take you away from all your trouble with firm talons.
Finally near the last bend is where the otters can be seen. Yes, there is awe and gratitude, but I admit to discontent. For I want to dive with them, root around for mussels with them, play with them, touch them, and be them. It will not happen and soon one must exit the river at the end of the run.
It's all I can do to not drive back up to the entry point and jump in again. But what good would that accomplish? For at least another two hours I could do more than imagine that I am one with this world, my body would confirm that I am.
With this knowing, would not this river last forever? If all humans could shed their clothes and join our brothers and sisters - in form or in dream - might we just forget our envy and our religions?
What a site - middle aged naked women recognizing each otter individually and seeing themselves. How the people would marvel.
Go ahead and look, I've got whiskers too!
Where don't you jump in?