A BEND IN THE RIVER by Joyce Martin Perz September 2015
Fish searched for a perfect place to call home, eventually choosing a narrow space between two boulders near a bend in the river. As it turned out, this was a wise decision.
The very next spring a three-day warm spell melted the winter snow. Icy cold runoff poured into his quiet river, turning it into a torrent of rushing, tumbling, churning water. The voracious current pulled at grasses, ate at river banks and swept up all the fish, turtles and frogs that were unable to resist the remorseless undertow.
Fish gratefully took cover in his rock-walled crevice and didn’t venture out until the worst was over. He was cautiously swimming through the murky water when a shaft of sunlight cut through the gloom, illuminating thousands of tiny particles suspended in the silt. Fish was delighted to be surrounded by twinkling points of light.
“This is so beautiful,” Fish said, wishing he could share this moment with a friend. “It is as if the stars had fallen into my river.”
“The sight is quite magical,” croaked an unfamiliar voice. “I often admired the night sky from my home; but the waters have carried me such a long distance, I fear I will never be able to return.”
“Do not worry Toad,” Fish said. “I believe you will agree this bend in the river is an excellent place to live and I would enjoy your company.”
Just then a shadow fell across the water. Fish flipped his tail and executed a splendid leap in order to see what might be blocking the sunlight. A tree had toppled as the bank washed away and now bridged the river; roots on one bank, limbs resting on the opposite side. Woven into the branches was an orb of delicate lace.
Fish quickly said to Toad. “We should invite Spider to stay with us.”
Toad agreed and hopped up on the tree trunk to properly address her. “Artful weaver,” Toad began, “Fish and I truly regret the calamitous events that caused your tree to fall. It was most unfortunate. However, it appears your web is unharmed. Perhaps you will consider staying here with us?”
“This web is my finest achievement,” Spider said. “I securely tethered silk of my own making to each branch and used my ancient weaving skills to create this elegant design.”
She bustled about the web, checking each strand for damage before announcing, “All is not lost. Repairs need to be made. I will make them. Fish and Toad, I accept your kind invitation.”
The raging spring waters had brought three unlikely friends together for a peaceful summer at a bend in the river.