Every now and then, we find perfect places. Places can have the potential of feeling perfect, but the circumstances can sometimes feel off–and if we're lucky, place and circumstance collide in the most miraculous of ways.
Floating through the canyons of the Colorado River, the water is murky, opaque with ancient silt and the disturbed clay of the river floor, but warm and easy to slide into and remain content for hours. We have rafts–large blue ones that stick out against the dry browns and greens of the surrounding desert–but most of us slip into the water to slowly meander in the direction of our campsite. At one moment, we're in the shade of enveloping canyon walls, another, we emerge into the gentle, sun-bleached waves, catching a glimpse of the brief stretches of vibrant green wetland-like grass, a symptom of our rainy summer.
It's effortless. We have nowhere else to be, and no real way of getting there faster, even if we wanted to. Ocassionally, when our hands and feet go pruney, we climb on the boats and paddle in long, mechanical strokes. We drink warm beer; and some cold ones if we're lucky.
Towards the end of the day, when the shadows start creeping in on the river, we turn a corner into Black Rock, where the river makes an abrupt left turn and black metamorphic rock appears, some of the oldest rock in the area. The water turns glassy, all goes quiet, and it's as if we've entered into an age-old land–a secret that only few get to see.
In truth, it's no secret at all: this was the goal for other rafters like us. It's tranquility and serenity at it's best, with the smooth black rock formations creating hidden shelter, and ideal swimming holes.
It's the kind of peace that washes over you and resides there even after you're gone.