I spent the day in my car tracing the Lumberton River that spreads itself out, throughout the Lumberton area. Parking along overpasses with the marking Lumberton River and then making my way below. 

All my time spent in Lumberton I have never ventured below. I grew up with a mother who told me stories of the black river. Stories of snakes falling from the sky and nests on the river floor. Of a current that pulls you underneath and a darkness masking it all.

Today I ventured in sandals with a bathing suit in my bag. Acquainting myself with this natural and mysterious beauty. The denseness, the moistness, the smell, and the sounds of creatures disappearing in the darkness.

Today I stood on the bank and faced my fears. Inviting it to flow within. To feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
To feel the presence of all those before me who flow through my blood.

I didn’t go swimming today, but I did see my mother bathing, her long dark hair wet with the black water. Someday (maybe soon) I will find myself in that same water, the blood of my people. A water that served as a place of safety and protection for the Lumbee Tribe from the outside world. For now, I will enjoy it as an outsider and slowly make my way in.