Written by Christine Price
posted on December 13, 2015 12:30
I stand on top of the Sea Ray, preparing to take the first frigid plunge of the season. I can feel my heart racing in my chest, adrenaline coursing through my veins. A screech escapes me as I propel myself forward. Within seconds I am consumed by the water, swallowed into the threshold of sensation.
Sinking beneath the surface, I have never felt more alive. It is as though I have infringed upon a secret as I float, suspended in the vast escape of a world filled with exotic life forms and precious species. When I invade this world, cradled in its arms, I am content. I desire to simply hold my breath and remain there for as long as I can until my lungs scream for air. In that moment I am alone. It is just me and the river.
When I am on the water I find a sense of peace and comfort. There is something about the river that transports me far from the strains of reality and the pressure of growing up. Sitting under the fading blue sky, beneath the last rays of sunlight, I find it easy to lose track of time. Everything is forgotten in that moment when the sun is hovering above the horizon, illuminating a path across the water as though a million fireflies gathered, glimmering. Even on the days when grayish shapes advance, threatening to close the curtain early on the day, there is an inherent beauty to be found as the rain strikes the surface.
A river is never still; it is a canvas for every stroke of the wind and rotation of a propeller. Gazing across the St. Lawrence River I am reminded of the many memories that are painted and etched into every ripple and swell of the current since I was born. I do not measure my life in the trivial succession of years, but through the months of summer.
The river has seen me through many stages of my life from my first strokes in the water with a life jacket on, to conquering the doggie paddle, and finally being able to swim. It is where I have matured and blossomed alongside my family. When I am on the water surrounded by loved ones I find a sense of solace. The river serves as a reminder of the times spent together, and the laughs and smiles we have shared. It is the essence of my childhood.
My love for the St. Lawrence River stems from the seventeen summers of memories that I have accumulated since I was a little girl. As time goes on I believe that although I may wander, I will find my way back. The river is where my heart lies, and I hope that it has become a reflection of who I am as a person. As Lynn Noel wisely said, “The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are.” The water is my fingerprint, my identity. It is the very liquid that runs through my veins.
I will always be a river rat.
By Christine Price
Christine Prince is seventeen years old and currently a senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School in Manlius, NY. She has a twin sister and an older brother. They live in Manlius but summer in Clayton, NY. Christine says, “My parents retired several years ago, so we are able to spend our entire summers in Clayton. We have made wonderful memories over the years, and I can think of no other place I would rather be. That is why I decided to write my college essay about how meaningful the St. Lawrence River is to me.”