Around lunchtime, we put out lunch, which shifts the children into being still and quiet. They anchor their boats with nylon fishing lines tied to shovels forced into the mud. They consume strawberries, blueberries, and nuts along with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They learn to share because we require that they learn to share. Play resumes for a while. Soon one parent starts to rinse off the mud-encrusted toys, and another starts toweling off a wet body or two. The toys and children are loaded into the hot cars as the day at the river comes to an end. They have expended so much energy that naps are sure to follow the four or more hours of playing outside in the open air.
In late July, the monsoon season starts and the Galisteo flows deeper, redder, and swifter. No amount of repellent will stop the hoards of mosquitoes that have invaded the banks. We don’t show up at the agreed upon time anymore because nature has become uncooperative and claims our little piece of paradise as its own until next year. These images are a record of the carefree days at the river.