Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Mississippi River

If you have never gone and sat on the banks of the Mississippi River, your citizenship should be revoked.  There is never a time that I don't miss the river.  I can remember crossing it as a young child to visit my grandmother, on a bridge so rickety I STILL can't believe it's there.  And, there was a train on the bridge at the same time.

I can remember crossing it on ferry boats to get to Algiers, Plaquemine, and St. Francisville.  I need the water.  I need the lazy move of her swaying ships, like a woman singing a siren song.  The blues were born on the Mississippi.  The kind of blues you can't get out of your mind.  Not "Old Man River".  That doesn't even begin to do it justice.

I have gone to sit on the levee so many times when I'm faced with a decision, or a hard time, or a good time in my life.  Lying on the riverbank gives you the feeling no one else is there, until one of the barges or riverboats toots its horn.  I can remember taking a blanket and a bottle of wine to the levee, alone, when I felt alone.  I have gone there with friends to be festive, or to grieve.

There's just no getting around the river.  When we go to Baton Rouge, the first thing I want to do is go to the river.  And then go to New Orleans, so I can sit on a bench and just watch that lazy old river run down the bend and on to farther destinations, or maybe just the Port of New Orleans. It doesn't matter.  It touches me.
It makes me feel part of a greater plan, a bigger picture, something much larger than me.

So, if you have never been to the river - - go there.  Alone, or with friends (depending on the neighborhood) but you will never be the same.

1 comment:

  1. Last October, I flew down to Baton Rouge from Colorado Springs for the 10 days around my birthday, October 17th. I needed to get back to Baton Rouge to spend time with my wife, who was caregiving her Dad dying of Pancreatic Cancer. I flew in town on October 15th, and received a call from one of my daughters informing me that all three of my daughters had chipped in to purchase us a $100 gift certificate at Tsunami, a Japanese Sushi resturant located in downtown Baton Rouge on the top floor of a building overlooking the Mississippi River. We arrived at Tsunami early evening in order to get a table on the outside patio. As the sun was setting, we drank Scotch and looked at the mighty "Father of Waters", "The River", also know as The Mississippi. Boats were working the river as the sun was setting. Cars were crossing both Mississippi River bridges. There was obvious activity at the River Boat cassino that we could see at Catfish Town. Cars were traveling up and down River Road in front of the old State Capitol, build by the Spanish during the years after they purchased Louisiana from the French. Louisiana has a rich history of being a territory 1/3 of the current United States owned and governed by France, Spain, and France again, before Napoleon sold Louisiana to President Thomas Jefferson in 1803. The richness of culture reflects the richness of the soil brought about by the annual floods of The River over tens of thousands of years. As we stood watching, thinking and praying, I could not help compare this beautiful sunset with the sunsets that my wife and I had been observing from our new home during the last 10 years of living in Colorado Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak just East of the Front Range of The Rocky Mountains. It is an amazing thing to see the sun set behind Pike's Peak; very different from the sun setting over the the low lands of Southern Louisiana. The beauty of nature is highlighted by the fullness that you, as my wife of 10 years, have brought into my life. During this last decade, we have watched sunsets in Thailand, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Turkey, and Mexico; amazing places with wonderful cultures. Somehow, even though, we both love many different cultures, peoples and places on the planet, watching this particular sunset that October evening overlooking The Mississippi from that rooftop resturant stands out as one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. I love living life with you, Sweetheart!