I set out for a hike on one of the hottest days of summer. The humidity was thick in my throat, and I justified bringing Mowgli because this particular trail followed a river. Every mile or so I would unclip his leash and let him bound into the cold, fresh water.
I was a little jealous.
As we stretched into our tenth mile, only a short distance from the car, we stopped high above the river. Large, flat rocks reach down from the trail and crumble down into the water. As I watched Mowgli hop from one spot to another, temptation pulled me under and dropped my backpack on a rock and slipped off my shoes.
Mowgli swam back and forth, retrieving a stick, and I watched him paddle upstream in a deep blue swimming hole, barely moving. I slid off my rock, in my sweaty clothes, and joined him.
I ducked under and resurfaced as other hikers passed, surely thinking I was certainly crazy and probably brilliant.
The cool water rushed past me, and the stresses and worries of my summer were pulled away with it. It is not just about the washing of dirt and sweat from the body. It is the act of repenting and pledging. Feeling the tension ease from my limbs and turning from the trials of a challenging summer. Letting out my held breath and wiping the water from my eyes as I pledged to walk forward clean and renewed.
As I pulled myself back onto the rock, my gym shorts dripping crystal clear river water, my summer started all over again.