Shirley struggled into her swimsuit and waddled down to the river for a quick dip before the children were up and demanding her attention.
She sidled up to the river bank and edged over the rise, descending into a culvert shadowed by tree limbs.
Slowly, she lowered her girth into the cool water, careful to avoid the root tangle pouring from the bank. Sinking blissfully into the muddy waters, she began rubing the mud over her arms and legs, vigorously rubbing to provide warmth and sloughing, grabbing mud with both hands and rubbing it over here face and neck, then plunging into a slightly deeper part of the river, swimming out a ways to wash away all the mud.
Flipping onto her back, she floated freely, enjoyng the vivid blue of the sky, contrasted with the grey slate of the water, too dark to reflect the brightness of the sky.
In the distance, the calls for her floated high and clear over the rise. Reluctantly, she turned and swam toward the bank, pulled herself ashore, and started the short trek back to home, family, love.