Shadows of the current are blue. Waters of the slowed river spread toward shore, pushed out like particles of waves, arched from the current’s stream but with a face bent cucullately toward me. The lips of these little waves, as they sweep toward me, are white-edged and shine with sun dots. I watch the waves break on a stone shaped like a pregnant belly. The water rushes around the round stone margin, slipping fast like a sheet shook over a bed over the round stone top, where the water wrinkles and ceases, a thin fold of white froth dissipates. The sheet pulls back from the stone, sliding over its edge, and the water dips down as if the river had drawn it back. I hear the river inhale, a wet, slippery ‘uuurrrgh.’ The next blue-faced wave comes.
When I crawled from the back of my truck at 8 a.m., after the sun had risen upriver, I fixed a large cup of lapsang souchong tea, which I carried down the slope, along with a my canvas chair and Paul Fussell’s Abroad, to the edge of the Selway River. A large, flat-topped boulder provides a perch in the sun, where I watch the river.
There are yellow nets on the submerged brown stones. The thick, yellow cords move with the waves, which flex the nets. I realize the yellow networks are the edges of waves. The sun does not cast the waves as shadows on the submerged stones; instead, the thickened edges of waves act as lenses that throw the sunlight in hard beams against the rock.
The sun rises higher over the ridge opposite the river. I take off my sweater and sandals. Insects swarm, like yellow particles, in the light over the river. Their motion is almost Brownian. A particle insect drifts up then darts down. The swarm weaves. From my seat, it looks as if a plane of insects moves upriver while another plane moves down—each moving plane seems to curve back at the edge of the swarm to go the opposite direction. The illusory tapestry is a warp of perspective—from my seat, I see the up- and down-river motions of the insects and sense that those moving in a common direction move together in a plane, whereas they are likely to be widespread in the swarm with the up- and down-river insects intermixed. My fixed perspective allows my illusions.