Aqua-Therapy for Treating a Mad World

Rolling down the river is good for the soul.

The Arf and Arf

Trish and I recently inherited a canoe. It is a large vessel as canoes go, measuring nearly twenty feet in length. It was made to hold three or four people and gear, and used for annual two-week long trips down the Green River in Southern Utah. Trish’s dad and some friends of his made a series of canoes out of red or yellow fiberglass. The one we have was the last of the group, and by the time they got to it they only had enough red and yellow fiberglass to make a half a canoe from each. As a result, our canoe is half yellow and half red, affectionately titled the “Arf and Arf.”

Long story short, last week we finally got the Arf and Arf into the water and down the river. We launched her here in Los Molinos and guided her down the Sacramento River to Woodson Bridge in Corning. The brief excursion had us out on the water for about three and a half hours.


It’s another world out there. Generally it is pretty peaceful here in the country, but on the river it is downright serene. In Mexico they have a word that doesn’t quite translate into English—“tranquilo.” It’s used to describe a particularly beautiful spot of coastline, or a sweeping valley, or the white sand beaches of Acapulco before the drug lords. It represents beauty, peacefulness, and an element of the sublime. The trip down the river was like that—a moving meditation, an opportunity to shed all of the chattering, underlying monologue, and to simply be. The flow of the river, the interplay between light and water, and the unfettered access to wildlife make it almost impossible for the inanities of daily human life to creep in.

The four hours seemed to go by in fifteen minutes, and I left the river feeling lightness in my soul I haven’t felt in ages. I highly recommend this kind of aqua-therapy for anyone feeling stifled and stymied by the pressures and trapping of the modern world.

The God, Gods, or no God Must be Crazy

The world out there is crazy and I thank God, the Gods, or no God that we live where we do, and not in Gaza, Syria, Central America, or a host of other regions where political strife and violence are running rampant. Those old gods of chaos are forever prowling, and I suppose someday they’ll find their way to us. For now though, I’ll enjoy the cocoon and celebrate my small worries. I’ll fret over the waterproofing of our underground pub and wonder at the oaks towering overhead. I’ll give thanks for good soil, a full aquifer, and cold beer. At night I’ll dance with the full moon and the black cats, during the day I’ll run the water and the swamp cooler and try and guess when the first rains will come. Sometimes I’ll sit very still and stare at it all.

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Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.