Armchair Peregrinations

Jan. 22, 2005

I have always loved rivers -- the way they flow so silently to the sea. Or in the mountains, when they rush downstream over rocks and boulders, all energy and exuberance.

I have photographed many rivers and streams on my travels across the country, stopping on back road bridges, walking downstream at parks and nature preserves. Enthralled, mystified, their courses unknown around each curve and bend.

I like to sit and look at flowing water and think deep thoughts, the kind of thoughts that are inspired by the ceaseless flow of water. It's calming and tranquil.

During rainy seasons, a swamp creek at Caw Caw Park flows toward the saltwater marsh. I walk along it and hear the gentle murmur of the water flowing over submerged tree branches. The water is tea-colored and seems to clear and pure. But more than likely, it's a dry stream bed, just like those sloughs in the cypress swamp nearby that are only seasonally full of water. Still, I know the flow will return and I can once again hear it riffling over logs.

I am not sure what really accounts for my fascination with rivers and creeks. I guess one reason is the association I have of them with the country and the rural areas I missed so much as a child growing up in the big city of New Orleans. The one river I associate with my childhood was the Father of Waters, itself -- the Big Muddy, the Mississippi. It is a mile wide and a force of nature as it flows to the Gulf of Mexico past downtown New Orleans in its 200 foot deep channel. That's what I always heard, anyway.

As much as I love the Mighty Mississippi, I am drawm just as powerfully to the small rivers of the midwest, in nebraska, for instance, where they all start as small sprigns in the sand hills of the north and central part of that state.

I buy books about rivers. I look carefully at photographs of them. They endlessly interest me. I am posting here, some pictures of rivers I have stopped to photograph on several trips to and from the Pacific Northwest. Going through my photo albums to select them last night brough back a lot of memories.

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