Bottom of the Mountain River

Today, you are a river otter. You slide into the stream from the slope of the shore, watching the silver shiners swim in every which way. They are fighting for their survival.

But so are you. It’s dinner; you must hunt. 

You work until you catch enough to eat yourself, and then some extra to share. 

There are many moments throughout your hunting when you wish to stop; the heat of the summer afternoon is almost unbearable. But you must keep going. You have to survive.

You roll in the mud a little. You feel the damp earth against your skin, and shiver, basking in this brief instant of cooling salvation before you continue home, carrying your catch tenderly between your teeth.

At the entrance of your den, you pause briefly to look over the gentle lull of the nearby stream. Further north, the White Mountains gaze down upon you, cooling the quiet twilight as darkness begins to fall. The world will soon sleep.

You slip through the door of your den, gently waking the pups inside and offering them dinner. Admiration shines in their eyes as they eat, feasting until every last fish from the river has gone back into the system from which it was born.  

Through the slim entrance of your den, moonlight begins to stream through into your home. With your pups pressed against your sides, a soothing heat finding you at every angle, you begin to drift off into slumber.

This is your life, your wonderful life. Even if only for today.

Tomorrow, the worst could happen: you could find yourself to be somewhere completely different. Be something entirely separate from what you are now. In a life so unlived that you are far from here. It is a complete possibility that, tomorrow, you are not a river otter, but an atom of energy repairing the cut shoulder of a coyote. A bird egg, reincarnated into the universe as an act of mercy. Or you could be nothing more than a corpse, your decaying nutrients feeding a patch of moss tucked between stones.

Tomorrow, you could find yourself to be somewhere completely different. In a life far from here.

But that is a problem for tomorrow.

For now, you are alive, breathing in the air of the sunset. Basking beneath the moonlight. 

Gazing into the mountains above, and seeing the heavens just beyond.

Writing and photography by Hazel J. Hall.
Previously published by SeaGlass Literary.

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