It must be the water in my blood.
After a long winter, it warms and flows a little faster, remembering its ancient course over jagged sandstone ledges through wild mountain canyons. It manifests itself in my dreams first. A rush. A sensation of falling. Suffocating panic. And I haven't been on the Cheat River in fifteen years.
A wave at Decision Rapid flipping a fifteen foot raft end over end.
Upper Coliseum Rapid being altered by high water during the winter of 1993-1994.
A terrible swim at that very same rapid that I'll only tell you about if you buy me a drink.
A dozen waterfalls plunging down the canyon walls at High Falls Rapid after a heavy rain.
The undercut at Teardrop Rapid.
That the water in my blood remembers is no surprise. That I still dream of walking down the sandy path to the put-in... That I still dream of paddling like my life depended on it... That I dream of fighting to surface for air that's always too far away and wake up still holding my breath... That's how I know the river will be in my blood forever.
Kane, Joe. "ROARING THROUGH Earth's Deepest Canyon." National Geographic. Jan 1993: 130. Web. 12 Mar. 2012.