Monday, April 6, 2009

Earthday IX

When I was a child, the New River was my backyard to play in. A swimsuit (boys or girls) and bare feet were my attire. It held many underwater tea parties, mermaid chior practices, and cannonball contests. On it's sandy banks, in the warm sunshine, we built dams, constructed water canals, baked mud pies and mixed moss milkshakes. On its grassy banks, under the glow of the moon and the sparkle of the stars, we would play hide and seek, catch lightning bugs, build campfires, pitch tents, eat smores and play spoons (the game, not the music). It was always there to catch us as we jumped from the wooden docks, swung from the ropes, flipped from the seesaws (inner tube of a car) and wiped-out from skis (skiing behind a fishing boat with a 25 horse power boat motor? yes, it can happen). It introduced us to many of its inhabitants, muskrats, water snakes, turtles, crawdads, Jesus spiders (you know, the kind that walk on water), minnows, muskees, trout, sunfish, catfish, one fish and two fish.

I even received my first ticket on this river. For a month of Sunday's (as my great-grandfather would say), I had begged to put the boat motor on the wooden raft, which was normally motorized by a long pole and my girlie biceps. And one Sunday, it actually happened, the little 10 horse power boat motor was popped onto the back and away my friends and I went ~ two houses down to park alongside the cross-tie reinforced bank. This was certainly within poling distance. Not 15 minutes later, the game warden pulled up. A ticket was issued and needless to say, I never asked to break the rules again.

Fear never entered my heart, in regard to this river. Not when the waves were high, we were far from home, the motor had disassembled and my friends and I dove over and over until the missing propeller and pin were retrieved. Not when torrential rains would force it to break it's banks, raging through the tree limbs that were meant for climbing, growing wider and wider until it seeped through the doors and occupied the basement only able to escape through the side windows.

It calmed my soul, consoled my broken heart and gladly welcomed my tears into it's own body of water. One day, so broken-hearted ~ betrayed ~ angry, I walked straight into this river fully clothed. The river was the only place that I had left to turn. It wrapped its big gentle arms around me and held me like no mother could.

Now, that I am older, I know that I owe this river for the confidence, peace and strength that it has given me. For this reason, I will work towards changing my harmful habits, raising awareness about its needs and supporting organizations like And since, the river always flows into the ocean ~

Thank you ~ my beloved river


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