Noun. A bounding or limiting line, especially one that, when crossed, commits a person irrevocably; a point of no return.
There is risk involved when it comes to rafting without a guide. Experts will advise against it, emphasize the importance of research for your chosen section of the journey. Urge you to let someone shore-side know where you are going, and when you intend to return. And never, under any circumstances, attempt turbulent waves alone.
I failed to heed these warnings, crouched on the banks of the Deschutes River with all the necessary gear, but no others in sight, and no plan to speak of. There is a dull ache in my abdomen, and I am reminded, once again, that a woman’s body sends her messages. Most of mine travel through the time and space, then metamorphosis into cursive smoke in the sky, high and beautiful, but sometimes disappearing before I can make out the words.
The sky I sit below now is free of clouds, shoulders soaking up kisses of pure Vitamin D, sunlight bouncing off the Box Car Rapids. Nestled between steep valley hills, this current runs faster than the blood that is flowing from my body. The blood that smuggled its way into my backpack, then revealed its stolen passage just hours into my week-long escape to central Oregon. The blood I had thought might be preparing to take a nine month sabbatical, from me.
For the past week, and first time ever, I’d been wondering if this blood was now the blood of another body inside my body. Pressing my fingertips into the flesh between my hips, just below my belly button, not knowing if I was touching anyone but myself.
Where had my lifelong fear and disdain for such a condition retreated to? A cupboard, a safety deposit box, or was it simply hiding underneath a bed with all the other monsters that only come out at night. Or perhaps, the fear had disappeared because I was no longer fixated on the “what if” but the “how so.” Not the possible creation, but the person created with.
A “how so” that held no promises. A “what if” I never would have taken to full term. A decision I would no longer have to make.
I stand and survey these seductive but dangerous whitewater peaks, but it is the land that whispers it’s time to change course; that there are just some things you shouldn’t attempt on your own. I unfold my hand-held map and search for alternate paths, as my body resets from fertile, to empty, once again, into a river that now carries new sediments, of sorrow and sawdust and stars.