Thursday, April 22, 2010
If you approach the River for the first time, fresh from “civilization”, it seems quiet, peaceful and empty. If you are still and observant, you find the truth is that the river is teaming with life, struggle, beauty, birth, death and transformation. It’s a microcosm of the universe and you can lose yourself in its intricacies.
The River itself is a living thing. It has its moods which range from dark and ugly to shining and beautiful. Somewhere in between is awesome, raging, and breathtaking. It can be all of these in one twenty-four hour period.
Here in Central Texas even a small river has some fascinating secrets; unique episodes of nature waiting to be discovered. Once, while walking along the river bank, I smelled an unusual musty odor. I followed my nose to a clump of weeds and gently parted them with my hand. There was the opening to a small den, not large enough to be called a cave, but deep enough to hide a mother bobcat and her kittens. Mom was gone to lunch, fortunately, and I resisted the impulse to scratch those kittens behind the ears.
I found a gator floating, looking like the log he was pretending to be.
Trees with branches bending down to kiss the water.
Fish lurking under the shelf of rock that projects from the bank.
Turtles that lined up on a fallen tree and splashed into the water one at a time as I approached.
Birds watching from the overhead branches.
Snakes skimming the surface.
Racoons feeling of the mud.
Deer bending low to drink.
Ducks flying low.
Turkey roosting nearby.
Owls nesting in the rocks.
But the River never gives up all its secrets. No matter how long you stay there, how many times you visit, the ever-changing world of the River has ever-lasting mysteries.
I once lived high on a hill overlooking a river. People would travel to the slough beneath my house in their boats. It would take them about an hour to get there from the closest boat ramp. They thought they were out in the wild, away from everyone. I could hear every word they said while sitting on my porch. A river is also a sound tunnel.