This month’s Rx blog is inspired by a June visit to the Upper James watershed for a Field Day that we, the James River Association along with partners, hosted in the Catawba Valley. I ended up staying in Roanoke and paid a little visit to the Roanoke River Blueway. No, the Roanoke River is not in the James River watershed, but I just had to go see the river that weaved through the City I was staying in…it’s what us ‘river people’ do! I found a perfect spot at Wasena Park, where I could get my feet wet and decompress after our event. As I sat on its banks, I saw so much joy in the people around me and I like to think, glimpses into their inner child.

“This water feels great on my tired feet!” exclaims a man resting on a rock in the middle of the River. Then there was the teenager who said “heck with it” and jumped in with their jeans on. “Let’s race!” says the young boy to his sisters who all flopped in their tubes and raced to the bridge. Sounds of laughter flowed down the Roanoke as kayakers tipped over the friendly rapids. And then there was us. My partner skipping rocks, one of his hidden talents, and me chilling with my feet in the water and daydreaming. As I went for a short walk, I found a sculpture garden along the trail where a sculpture of a young girl with her arms stretched wide embracing the sky above, surrendering and saying “yes” to the joy around her. There is no one way to enjoy spaces like these, and it’s as if rivers are always calling, ‘Come play!’ My question to myself and to you is, ‘What if…we said yes?”

I invite you to try out this connection exercise this month to follow your inner child and ‘say yes’ to some joy along the river banks!


Grab a friend, family member, coworker, or just your journal, and head somewhere to can hang out on the banks of creek, river, or lake to visit for however long you wish. After you’ve found that perfect spot that is just calling your name, each take a moment share a favorite water and/or nature memory from your childhood. Note where it was, who was there, what you were doing, and what it felt like. If you’re by yourself, journal about it. Then, turning your attention to your current spot, ask that little kid within, “What would bring you joy in this moment?” And, as long as it isn’t something that is harmful to nature, someone else, or yourself, just say “Yes!” Say yes to your inner child. Say yes to being in this moment. Say yes to letting yourself do something just because it brings you joy! Take note of any resistance you might have and what holds you back from embracing your inner child and kindly tell it, “Not today!”

Looking for a new place in the James River watershed to enjoy? Join us for a Connect with the James event or check out our James River Adventures in Lynchburg!