Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Definitions: Confluence

Remember what you do if you find a fork in the road?

The same thing you do if you find a box full of hundred-dollar bills: You take it.

Likewise, you might be hiking along, happy as a fly on a tuna-salad sandwich, and there you are, face to face with a stream. Worse, a confluence of streams. Even worse yet, a confluence of two equal-sized streams. This is a fork, and if you are a dummy, then you are forked. Officially-speaking.

So then what?

Time for lunch!

Sit down, shoo the flies off your food, eat, think about it and see if things get better while you wait. In case they don't, remember that no matter what else happens, you're still going to die, and that maybe today is your day. You know? Maybe today.

It could be worse.

At least you're out in the woods where everything is all clean and pure and where there's no sound except the flowing water and a little faint whimpering. (From you, of course.) Hey — not completely terrible. We all snivel from time to time, and at least no one can hear you, or see that funny face you make when you cry. So there's that.

And if you don't die right away, you can kill time (literally, for once) by thinking. By thinking about what a confluence is, by remembering that a confluence is a meeting of streams — usually two streams, but maybe more — that a confluence is a meeting of streams at the place where they flow into each other, which is how streams do it.

So if you're still not dead yet, then try walking some more. That might be enough. Or try to get across these here streams. To do that? To cross? Go detouring upstream and take them one at a time, since each stream is smaller by itself than the combined flow after the streams have joined together. Maybe.

Unless this is the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, in which case a larger detour is in order. Unless you want to die right away, but there's no hurry for that. Death will get you when it wants you, no rush. This isn't so bad then, the detour thing. In case you were hiking in the Rockies or the Cascades, you're probably several hundred miles off course anyway, so enjoy it, enjoy your detour. See the country.

Stop for supper somewhere nice. Then float downstream and maybe take in Mardi Gras, and continue, and see what happens after that. Sluice. Just sluice it, sluice along. Flow together with the waters. Even a dummy can do that so it should be easy for you.

Source: How to talk in the woods.

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