Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Need for the Wildness of a Place

As summer slows into autumn, I find my way back to the woods. I have always loved this time of year. Even as a kid, I couldn't understand why school got going just as I wanted to be out there, in the rolling hills surrounding my rural home. However, now I have control.
I've just returned from two magical days of hiking along Old Man River, also known as the Mississippi River. He drains several US states and 3 Canadian provinces. The slow muddy water of this river is unlike any other on this part of the planet. Songs are sung about him, words are written, but you will never know what it's true power unless you go yourself.
This is merely a backwater, a still open boat launching deep inside Wyalusing State Park. Already at this early point in the waters journey, mere man cannot see across.

Notice the tracks. Every few minutes a freight train snakes along the river banks full of the bounty of the central states. After a few hours they become a welcoming annoyance. Commerce has utilized this river from the beginning of human occupation.

Multiple channels, thousands of islands, billions of gallons of water. You could spend a lifetime getting to know a single mile stretch of the Mississippi, and just when you thought you had it, you have to start over. Constantly shifting waters destroy and create an ever changing milieu.
And then just when you thought the Mississippi had taken all its could fertile banks could hold, a titan of a river joins the deep murky waters. Here the Wisconsin River gives up to the master.
I snapped a photo of my passing before taking up my stick and heading into the woods.
To be continued ...

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