This past Sunday I finally made it to Boomerang Bay, the water park at King’s Island, with Diamondqueen and J.Hooligan. I’ve been waiting since last Labor Day weekend to float along Crocodile Run, the “lazy river” attraction in which you plop yourself into a large inner tube and glide along a twisting stream dotted with “obstacles” such as a water spout, a falls of overflow from one of the huge slides that churns the Run into supposed rapids, and similar surprise opportunities to get wet. The most impressive is a high waterfall with two grinning crocodile statues as sentinels. The falls give you a good, hard dowsing if you go under. J.Hooligan is quite disappointed if I don’t happen to drift into that peril.
Mostly, though. Crocodile Run is a chance to relax in the deepest sense. As season pass holders to KI who live only a few minutes away, we’re able to arrive early and take a couple of turns down the river before it gets crowded. I lie back on the inner tube, my face skyward, and I try to drift without any concern about where I’m heading. If the sun’s too bright, I shut my eyes. Under the trees, though, I deliberately stare above me, mindlessly enjoying a quiet kaleidoscope of sky, leaves, sunlight, shadows, crisscrossed branches. None of the obstacles on Crocodile Run are worth worrying about. I’m already wet, and I don’t mind being jostled by the noisy but ultimately tame rapids.
If only life was like Crocodile Run. I’ve always been one to look back and contemplate. Naturally, on this first Sunday taking my hydrotherapy at Boomerang Bay, I thought back to my last time on the river and what’s happened since. The past ten months have been crowded with crocodiles with ferocious teeth, lots of thrashing in furious, boiling water just trying to stay afloat. Two weeks ago we buried my father. And it just stretches back from there, following an exhausting course all the to September.
I believe the weekend after Labor Day was the big windstorm when Hurrican Ike moved through. Then Mom went into the hospital for over a week; at the same time, my younger brother had a heart attack. We’d hardly started to breathe normally after that when we learned that my brother-in-law, That Poor Man, had something wrong with his heart, a valve had been damaged by bacteria. The doctors’ visits and tests, and the worry and uncertainty, dragged on through the Christmas season, with That Poor Man admitted to the hospital on New Year’s Eve because one of those tests had shown too much of the bacteria in his system and he needed IV antibiotics immediately.
TPM finally had his surgery in mid-March. He came through the surgery to repair the valve well, he was recovering nicely. Then in April my father had the stroke, and life in the weeks that followed fell apart for everyone.
And through it all, the sheer stress of my job has just about been killing me.
Thank God for Crocodile Run, a pleasant Sunday morning, the privilege of being able to lie back and float. And not have to worry, even a little bit, about the rapids and the crocodiles, both metaphoric and real.