My treasured friend and Aunt Bev, recently traveling with her sisters, sent me this photo of a sunset on the biggest stream in America: the Misi-Ziibi (Native American for "Big River,") --better known as the Mississippi.
The largest watershed in America, the Mississippi runs north and south, beginning in Canada, ending in the gulf of Mexico, dividing our country pretty much down the center. Division. Rifts. Boundaries. Politics. They're what are on most of our minds this election season. So many crazy ways we separate ourselves from each other.
But Old Man River, he just keeps on rolling-- and what's here today, is water under the bridge tomorrow.
The "Friends of the Mississippi" report that our Mississippi watershed is healthier today than it was a generation ago. However, (they remind us) there is always work to be done. As always, what's in our yards today--is headed down our streams tomorrow.
I would add-- whatever is our hearts and heads today-- is also flowing downstream-- to our children and grandchildren of tomorrow. For healthy streams- of- thought, during stressful election seasons, and other times of troubled waters, remember to breathe deeply, hang out in nature, and listen to great music.
For your enjoyment, I'm posting some great songs inspired by the Mississippi River. Whether written and/or recorded in peace, pain, or political upheaval, music is a spiritual balm that heals and uplifts, wherever it flows. bringing life to arid places.
Music is free to us all, no matter our color, gender, or political stripes. And river music seems to touch a deep chord. Sing out loud. Hum under your breath. Chase away the blues. You will be moved to higher ground, I'm pretty sure.
Enjoy the tunes, enjoy your day, stay mindful, and keep on rollin'
Old Man River, Jim Croce:
Graceland: Paul Simon
Black Waters, Doobie Brothers
For twenty two years, my husband and I have been on duty for a batch of wonderful but wily sons, born in quick succession. Twenty two years of trying to keep them from killing themselves, or each other, trying to teach them to be decent human beings, being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The college boys graced us with their company a bit over this summer. The high school senior prepared to launch. It was lovely, and raucous, and poignant-- and very loud.
Then all flew off in one explosive burst-- like birds lifting off a telephone wire. That wire would be me. Jangled, swaying a bit from the weight lifted, feeling euphoric and sad and untethered and disoriented, all at the same time. I know they may all bounce back tomorrow, if things don't go as planned. I also know this might be the new normal. Either way, it's going to take time to adjust.
So, when the dogs (large, hairy beasts bequeathed by youngest son) tugged me on a walk down to the creek bed, I didn't want to go that direction. After five years of drought in Central California, it's as dry and crispy as saltine crackers. Dreary as a moonscape. But maybe, after all, a decent place for a Jangled Wire to take a moody walk. I followed the hair balls.
As my dogs whiffled with excitement around the willows I looked closer, and saw a small, woodland home. A few yards away, I saw another entrance.
I don't know if the beavers are currently snoozing in their dens and tunnels, waiting out the weather--or if they have moved upstream--or died out completely. But finding these dens and tunnels--and some freshly gnawed willow bark-- gave me something new to ponder: if beavers can be so resourceful and resilient, if they can dig in and wait out month- after- month of no rain, maybe I can be a little tougher too.
One thing is for sure, if the beavers sat around on the banks watching the sky for clouds, they wouldn't have a home, a dam or a slide to slide on. They just do their work and leave the weather up to-- whomever is in charge of the rain. Probably a good plan. I guess it's time for this mama to start gnawing on a new project.
May your streams be overflowing with blessing-- and if you have to wait for rain, may you be as resilient as these determined little dry-creek beavers.
Welcome to Streamriffs.com, a place for fellow creek- walkers and nature lovers. Lori Fisher Peelen lives in California with her family.