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My daughter teaches me things every single day. Some days, though, the thing she teaches me is more inspiring and breathtaking than others. Over the weekend we were in Oregon, out in the woods, with my sister and nephew. We stayed at a hot springs campground on a beautiful river. Immediately upon arriving, she wanted to see the river. This is what happened the first time we walked up to see it:

We come upon the river. From afar it’s just noise, the rush of the river as a background behind everything else. it gets louder as we get closer, the bass roar seems to take over all other sounds. But then other notes come out. We hear tenor: the gurgle of the big rapids flowing over the rocks. Alto: the bubble of smaller rapids finding paths around small outcroppings of rock. Soprano: the high note of drops of water splashing into pools and eddies as the river flows past.

The river plays on our ears. It washes over rocks and plants and bare feet. It rushes past, in a hurry to get somewhere else. But it also dawdles, flowing into little pools and idling away the afternoon in puddles on the boulders that decorate the shore. The river is more than just water. It’s a marching band. It’s an orchestra.

It plays a melody, a catchy tune that you hear from afar. But it plays a harmony, too. It plays in major scales and minor. It plays an ever-changing symphony of music, while always returning to a theme. It’s not just rushing water. It’s beautiful.

I didn’t hear all of this right away, though. At first I just heard noise. Then my daughter opened my ears and my heart with one short sentence.

“Mama,” she said. “The river is singing.”

Right you are, little girl. Right you are.

Sunrise over the river

(I’ll have more pictures from the trip soon!)