One day by this river, in the typical small town approach of greeting and talking to strangers, a neighbour who was catching plastic trash either blown or thrown into its shoreline, approached me and shared his thoughts on the subject: “man is the most dangerous animal on this planet”. I agreed; to which he proceeded in telling me how when aged nine, his mother was told he had gone to the other side of the shore: to Spain, swimming. Children, he told me, would gather on this side, near a factory located further South, towards the estuary and the open sea; and with the tidal currents, swam upstream until a fig tree, across the river, on the other side. It was effortless and precise, he said; no rush. To return, they would simply wait for the tide to change, enter again the water, and float back to this shore, to this country. It must have been beautiful, I thought; so calm, and adventurous.
Some things are harder to imagine, nowadays - even though I’ve seen seagulls quietly carried away by this same phenomena. I wouldn’t be surprised if these kids, with their wisdom and curiosity, had learned this from birds, our winged relatives.