It’s the split second I look back along the river, and see the chaos. The swelling of the rivers mass and movement tells me that the dam upstream has actually broken. Panic sets in. The water is coming and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Nothing I can do…I fear drowning. I fear the pain to come as I am swept away and crashed into oblivion. I fear never being found and no one knowing who I really am, what I really believe, want, and embody. The fear paralyzes me. The river is quiet where I am standing. It’s quiet enough to hear something calling my name-a large tree towers at the bank. Could it be? It’s daring me to try to survive. Maybe it’s just a human quality I can’t ignore. I listen and run toward the sound of my name. The tree is the only thing I can see now; a promise of hope. I’m fighting. I’m still scared, but I’m fighting. I scramble to the tree, grasping any appendage, ignoring the reality of the gashes I’m incurring. I made it to the top as the sound of water overtakes my senses. I’m closing my eyes, daring to hope. I imagine this is the feeling of being inside a tornado; lost in the moment of movement. The tree is bending under the pressure, but staying rooted to the place it calls home. I’m willing it to hold. I’m helpless, perched like a bird, breathing in the air that smells of the remnants of the rivers bottom dirt being loosed. It’s almost refreshing. Almost. The water swelled and changed the landscape of the river, and in such a short amount of time, it’s quiet again. The river seems adjusted to it’s new routine within moments of what looks catastrophic. If I hadn’t been in the tree to observe, I would almost think it didn’t happen. I’m left with the experience of loss, the experience of fear, but also the experience of survival. Like the river, I will adjust. I will keep doing what I was made to do-to love deeply.