This is my third bath in a river today. I’ve taken so many cold plunges in part because I haven’t seen much water before today and also because I’m covered in black ash. It’s from kicking down burnt protea bushes again and again, climbing over massive collections of their skeletons, tearing myself through the gaps, crawling, fighting.
I’m cut all over, I’ve torn holes in my clothes, and I’m thankful for being lucky with a close encounter of a stick taking aim at my eye.
I can treat myself to the relaxing moments found in being gentle in the water. As the last sun leaves the marches up the side of the valley, I think I hear voices but it is only the babble of the water. I can’t name the voices, but I feel the recognition of the sound wash over me.
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