Love of the Water



The Wabash River near my boyhood home

When I was a young boy I was awestruck by the river.  It looked so wide, so powerful, and so mysterious.  At first there was a twinge of fear whenever I was near it, afraid it would draw me into its mighty current and carry me away to…I didn’t know where.  After a time though, I started to like the idea of its deep, dark, magnificent power.  It yielded to no one or nothing, either at low ebb or floodtide.

As I grew, I began to see the river as my friend, fishing from its banks and enjoying the bounty that it offered to those learned or patient enough to reap its rewards.  I explored its sandbars and gravel bars, savoring the gleaming rounded stones that I saw as treasures to be hoarded in my secret vaults.  I enjoyed the music of the water as it rippled over stones and submerged branches, this the only interruption to the quiet peace of its environment.


Freshwater Mussels

I shared this love of the river with an uncle who became my mentor on the river and its myriad inhabitants.  He taught me of all the fish, and what bait they would accept as food, of the mussels and how their shells, for years, had been harvested to make buttons for shirts, blouses, and even for inexpensive jewelry.  I learned how to trap the wily muskrat and prepare its hide for sale to a furrier.  This wise old man then walked with me along the riverbanks, showing me the wildlife available to see, appreciate, and even harvest for food.  Vegetables such as cattails, wild onions, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, and other sources of food that nature provided.  Wildlife was as plentiful as the flora, squirrels of several varieties, cottontail rabbits, ducks, geese, sometimes even a deer or a wild turkey appeared along the banks, coming to the river to drink of its waters.  It was easy for me to see how primitive man could have lived so freely at the edge of this plentiful source of food.

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Some of the critters I knew well

Thus, through the years my love of the water, rivers especially, grew and deepened so that choices of a place to live were often made with the nearness of the water a major criteria.  My appreciation of water expanded to include lakes, streams, and eventually the ocean and the Gulf of  Mexico.

There is a special kind of magic involved with large bodies of water, especially when the vision of them includes the blueness of the sky, the glistening of the sun on the rippled surface, and the special times when, at sunset or sunrise, the water and sky are joined by the glorious colors of the sun against the water and attending sky.  Night time is another special event, with silver moons lifting themselves from darkened depths and sending their soft shimmering light forward across the placid surface that mirrors the jeweled stars that are spread across the blanket of the heavens.

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Sunset and Moonrise on the Gulf

Simple as it seems, water is one of the most beautiful and complex gifts given to humanity.  It is so shameful to see how it is desecrated with our waste.






6 thoughts on “Love of the Water

  1. Beautiful. I share your love of the water. There is nothing quite like it. It is an unending supply of beauty and therefore joy. Thanks for those great photos too.

    1. The “Wabash Cannonball” takes its name from the river. Don’t know of any other relationship. As for the Bartons, jury’s still out on that one. Could be true. My grandmother was from just south of Chicago and that’s where my grandfather met her. Still researching that. Watch out for greenish brown slow moving logs.

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