Alouette River, British Columbia - Rebecca Graham
I lived beside this river when I was a young child, from about 1979-86. My dad had worked on the tug boats, and my parents bought 5 acres on the northwest side of where the Alouette River flows into the Pitt. We had some scrappy docks where we and some other folks moored their floating homes and one or two speedboats, and people would row or sail dinghies or windsurf out into the wider Pitt, or take their speedboats up to Pitt Lake. I remember one of the docks was actually a solid plank, like a 5' diameter tree sawn in half, with metal grid to keep from slipping; and there were booms and different junctions and huge rusty fittings and scruffy ropes grey with the murky river sediment. I would climb down the side of the dyke to the muddy verge at low tide and hunt for freshwater clams, or jig for bullheads off the dock, or just hang my head over and look at what was growing on the dock, or what was floating by, or give myself delicious chills contemplating the mysterious 'dead heads' (waterlogged timber with one end stuck down in the mud) that would appear in the middle of the current. Never without a lifejacket! No kid was allowed onto the dock without a lifejacket. Once I remember we were playing log rolling games with a log inside one of the booms that protected our docks from wake, and one of the grownups tumbled on top of me when we went in. Usually I just bobbed on the surface in my orange and yellow life jacket with the big back collar pad, but this time I kept my eyes open and saw the layers of blue light and bubbles as I went down deeper than I'd ever gone before. I learned that experiences can be really scary and really amazing at the same time; there is only a murky space between being pushed to my limits, and the sublime.