She flopped down in the dry grass and marveled at the American River, flowing powerful and intent, and completely different from the Concord River she knew back home. Slow and meandering, the Concord lay languid and lazy, contented and steady, bloated with convention. And the muddy Merrimack in Lowell, slogged sick and strangled with production. The American ran fresh and fervid with no manners or tradition, shooting and exploding in every direction, alive with adventure and no regard for any known cannon. The water rushed past, full of rapids in the middle, pulling sticks and leaves and anything else caught up, infusing her with the confidence it carried, whispering. Encouraging. Prodding. Insisting she share in the adventure.