The Rise

By Mike Bedwell

On a sandy spit of gravel below the concrete dam
We made camp just as crickets began to sing.
Our lines set and hooks all baited,
We built a fire and waited.

We scorched ourselves a can of pork and beans;
Ate with our fingers; wiped them on our jeans.

Dusk's timid shadows deepened into darkness.
The soft gurgle of water became a sleeping potion.
As stars winked down from a humid summer sky.
I blinked slowly, then shut the other eye.

A gentle Southern breeze rustled through the air.
Just before sleep found me I offered up a prayer.

I dreamed of an imaginary sweetheart
And fried chicken from a picnic basket.
We dined on the ground amid pansies and phlox.
Her face was enchanting, framed in auburn locks.

My cot creaked and groaned as I flipped and flopped.
Though deep in slumber, I knew something popped!

Was I flying or falling? I couldn't tell. It happened so fast!
The wobbly wooden frame had simply dumped me flat.
I braced myself for the rocks below to smash.
Instead, I landed cold and wet..with a splash!

I sloshed and scrambled and finally stood erect.
Then I heard a roaring sound I never did expect.

It was the noise of water rushing all around.
Pleasant dreams were over; our campsite awash.
My startled sinuses reacted with a sudden sneeze
As the mighty Rio Frio swirled about my knees.

The campfire was gone; our lines were nowhere in sight.
But I learned an important lesson that soggy August night.

If upon a river's path you intend to make your bed
Be advised Mother Nature is an unforgiving lady.
Remember, things are seldom as they seem.
Before you make camp, check the rainfall upstream!

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