Anyone who’s been to the beach knows that you have to be mindful of the tide. To much fun and not enough attention can lead to some interesting situations to say the least. If you’re especially unfortunate you’ll be saying ‘by, by land’ while the coast guard mounts a rescue. But what I bet you’ve never considered is that the same thing could be found in a river as I did, much to my detriment.

When I was ten or so I visited my grandparents here in Texas. It should surprise no one–given the location–that the temperature was trying to make one for the record books. My grandmother thought that it would be a wonderful idea to take my brother and I down to a local river to swim. There was plenty of people around and I had a great deal of fun. The problem? The river had a current. I’m not talking about a ‘gently down the stream’ current, I’m talking about the ‘powerful undertow that will drag you to who knows where’ current.

Despite coming to this conclusion rather quickly, I made little effort to stay in the upper part of the river where everyone else was. Having taught myself to swim several years earlier, I was certain that I knew everything about swimming. I didn’t need any help–thank you very much. As a result, I drifted farther and farther down stream until–it finally dawned on me–that I just might be a little farther away from everyone than was reasonable. I decided to walk back up and so I stood–or tried to.

I was as skinny then as I am now, only a lot smaller. Between that and the current I wasn’t able to stand upright. So I crawled. That proved to be almost as challenging as my attempted walk. The river bed was covered in stones and–while they were large enough for me to pull myself forward on–they came lose all to easily and I’d slide back. Still, I was as stubborn as I was intelligent and, after thirty minutes of intense scrambling, managed to get back to everyone else. I learned an important lesson that day.

Whatever you do, don’t go downstream!

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Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it.

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