Fording the River Lee

Sunday morning I went to deliver a magazine to my friend who wanted it.
Eight am and the sun was already three fingers above the trees.
Quiet…well, quiet from human noise. The birds were fully awake.
After slipping it through her mail-slot I turned towards the river and enjoyed the crunch of gravel
under my boots and greeting early morning runners.
I was looking for the trail to the pebble beach where we first launched our paddle board.
It was too shallow there for the paddle board and ever since then I had been wondering if the river
could be forded.
On the opposite bank is a slip where one could clamber out.
The Hill was calling me.
I needed to go Up.
The river, what could be the worst thing to happen?
If I fell in, I could walk home wet.
If I could cross, I could climb the Hill sooner than if I walked past home and down across the
If I walked towards home, the magnetism of duty would overcome the pull to climb the Hill…and I
would regret it.
I took off my boots and socks and put them in the bag on my back and hitched my dress to my
A golden-doodle, drunk with freedom, bounded onto the pebble beach just as I was taking my
first step in. It nearly barked, but then realised we were about the same business and grinned at
me before crashing away through the bushes.
One step at a time.
The slime on the pebbles.
The softness of the fibres of plants.
Each step shifting underfoot before stabilising.
Coolness, hardness.
Next step.
Next step
Over and over
Then the current and depth increased and I breathed my heartbeat to calmness and pulled up my
dress and underthings to mid thigh.
One step
Next step
I nearly fell laughing four feet from the opposite bank and slowed myself to cautiousness until I
stepped out of the water.
Then I put down my shoes and sat on the bag to rinse my feet and put on my socks and shoes
and smiled at my own adventure.
Skirting the field towards the Hill I felt like a maiden again. I realized that I have been myself all
along. I am the same person inside, but some pleasures you have with others and some pleasures
you have alone. I am glad that Motherhood and being a wife hasn’t erased that part of me.