Life at the Launch

How to kill your dreams with belief

“It’s far too dangerous downriver,” he yelled. “You best drop anchor here.”

“How is it too dangerous?” I asked.

“All the locals know it,” he said (with obvious delight that he had caught my attention) I heard about the dangers and dropped anchor here years ago and never regretted it. The fishing is always good, it’s the catching that’s a little slow,” he mumbled, hehe. “But the folks are nice,” he assured me. The mans boat was backed into a tiny calm, facing the river like it was going somewhere, but moss and algae covered the hull and the anchor rope was colored darkrotten brine, growing its own ecosystem below the waterline—she was sparkling clean up top, though.

“Come here young man, we need to talk before you go any further.” He was facing the sun and squinting, using his hand for a visor. “We need to talk, or you?” I thought, but my politeness won me over as always. So I listened to the man and started to doubt my advance.

“People are holding here because the river ends up yonder. It gets rocky and the shallow rapids are just too dangerous—then the waterfall”, he warned. “How far down?” I asked. “Well, it’s certainly too much for you to portage, especially traveling alone, but it’s best to just play it safe,” he said confidently. “A few I know of never made it back.”

So I ask, “have you seen them?” “Huh, who?” he questioned. “The rapids, mister, you know these rapids?”

“I’ve been down that way but it was just too desolate, like the silent feeling of lonely dread. I came back here when the water got quick, but I still get a heart bump whenever I recall it.”

His tone was urgent and very convincing, pointing here and there over to others, over-explaining every detail genuinely. Mostly everybody it seemed had settled within view of the launch. It was bustling with business, trading, fishing, kids swimming in some designated areas. It was all fairly quaint, but missing something I couldn’t put my mind on at the time. But eventually I learned to live with an artful regret as well.

I came here with the high hopes of a grand adventure, but this seemed like a safer bet for the short time. Then came a woman, the kids, I got a pretty good job and started helping others that passed this way avoid the rocks and the dangers downriver.

My wing-suit finally got lost in a box somewhere, and now I’ve outgrown it anyway. I’m far too old and responsible to just cut the rope and drift away. Maybe tomorrow, but the thought is always there, tucked away in my dreams.

Oh man what we give up to guarantee ourselves a little more time on this rock. But, the end comes regardless. Live baby, live