It was just me and Clyde headed for the river on a windless morning. Bonnie howled from the back yard and damn near broke my heart. She got an extra handful of treats, but just left them piled on the grass.
I can’t bear leaving her behind and must conjure a way to bring her along that doesn’t cause pain. A wagon? Cannabis? Both? Think goddammit!
Record rainfall had sent the river over the banks and into the field.
I saw fresh beaverwood everywhere and evidence of our throwaway civilization. You are what you throw away. How easy a river at flood stage reveals that, reveals our essential flimsiness as a culture.
Flimsy is a great word to describe us. It’s one of those rare words that sounds like what it is.
I know something about flimsy. I had been trafficking in it for years. Flimsy is an adjective. What does flim the noun mean? Flim flam man. What about that?
There is nothing flimsy in a river and old dogs. I grasp them as hard as I can. They are my new friends, my decidedly non-flimsy friends to replace the flimsy friendships that ruled my previous life, cultivated by the friendship flim flam man, the old Matt Love.
Goddammit! I had missed the river running wild because I had been stuck in Portland doing decidedly non-river things intended to straighten the winding channels in my life. It’s a funny feeling being dredged in an office and paying a lot money for the dredging.
I found a beer bottle in the mud, a high end craft malt liquor. I saw a red canoe entangled in the tall reeds. Where was the body? Clyde seemed out of sorts. No Bonnie, of course. He flopped down on the bank and stared downriver. I picked up the bottle and threw it into the current. I’d never thrown a bottle in a river before. Somewhere down the watershed a transient would find and redeem it and keep his Oregon life going with a fast food hamburger and energy drink.
Nothing was happening in my heart or mind. Clyde came over and looked at me. He had no interest in a treat. My mind rocketed to an immortal line from John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, when he’s staring at his poodle, “I wonder why we think the thoughts and emotions of animals are simple?”
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