#49 In Roads-Woodland nymph
I’m standing on the bank as the redheaded girl wades in the river and counts crawdads. She reminds me of a fairy princess as she glides about calmly pointing out the newts swimming along the shore and stepping carefully over slippery rocks. She comments on how wonderfully warm the water is as she fishes out little treasures like stones and twisted sticks. I ask if there are leeches. The graceful young lady with the lip ring and piercing casually comes out of the river to show me the teeny little critters that squirm in her palm and attach themselves to her flesh. She tells me they are leeches, but assures me they don’t get very big. I cringe.
Sasha was raised on 40 isolated acres in the hills beyond the Oregon coast in a magical area and she fits right in. Salmon swim from the sea up the very river where she’s wading and she still lives with her parents in the same two-bedroom house where she grew up. She shares her room with a rabbit and an old dog named Roy who is either 16 or 18 years old, no one can agree on which. There’s an alligator living in a heated pool out beyond the back porch. I ask if she was afraid of it as a child and she shrugs. “No,” is all she says.
In total charge of her world, Sasha earns a nice living as her mother does, cleaning houses. Her mom told her she should go to school so she won’t be scrubbing toilets at 50 years old. “Why not, you do and you seem perfectly happy to me,” she chided her mother. I ask why she doesn’t want to go to school. “I never said I don’t want to go to college,” she corrects me. “I don’t go because I don’t know what I want to take. And who is going to pay for it if I do go? I mean, really, who can afford that?” I suspect that the 21 year old would be on the Dean’s list in no time if she sought a higher education. As a matter of fact, I have no doubt this young woman could conquer the universe if she decided she actually wanted it. Anyone who isn’t daunted by a hissing, snapping alligator has little to fear in the real world.