a personal note, or daydream, thought

I am a child of the desert west, yet I am also a son of the ocean beaches. The sea was always the greatest water in my life, in my world, in my vision.

Rivers were only small streams, which sometimes flooded, and often dried out completely into sand or cracked mud. Even the great Sacramento river, of the north, which was the most powerful river I knew as a child, well, even that paled in comparison with the greater bay, the golden gate, the San Francisco bay, beside whose eastern shore I was conceived and born, and then lived a year and four months before I was carried away to the south, to the silver gate, to pass my childhood beside the dry Mexican frontier, at San Diego.

Every year, however, sometimes twice, I returned to my grandmother’s house in that land where I was born, and I touched the saline waters of San Francisco bay. It was always like coming home to a home that I had lost, long ago, and it reconfirmed in my heart and mind the truth that salt water is the greatest water on this earth, this planet, this world of life.

Amen.

For me, let me repeat again, the greatest waters were always salt, the brackish salt waters of California estuaries, harbors, bays, and ocean. Only when I was a young man, years later, would I truly come to know, and begin to understand, the power of fresh water, sweet natural clean water, flowing across the earth, free from salt and almost ready to drink… or at least, once upon a time it was ready to drink, long ago, in the rivers of the east and the midwest, before civilized industrial man polluted it and contaminated it and poisoned it with our industrious power and might.

But in spite of that damage, the great streams are still alive, those rivers whose names were once only words in my history books, the Hudson, Delaware, Shenandoah, Potomac, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, and a hundred, a thousand others. They still flow, and flood, although we cannot drink freely from them without bombarding them with chlorine gas and filtering and refiltering the shit from their streams of festering, pestilent life, yes, but they still flow, they still run through the living world, they still flood, and they still carve their twisting path across the face of this land we call America.

One of those rivers, the “Mighty Mo” – as it is known with love and fear – figures mightily in my journey to witness the total eclipse of the sun.

For several reasons, I have chosen a city upon its lowest, southernmost shores to be the spot where I will wait for the shadow of the Moon to come racing across the Earth toward me.

Missouri.

Even if all my plans of mice and men may gang agley and fall apart to leave me stranded dead without a whit of travel, it is enow for me that I can imagine it now and set down in these daydreaming words.

Missouri.

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2 thoughts on “a personal note, or daydream, thought

  1. Being used to clear running streams – even the Niagara can be the bluest of blues, at times – I was greatly disappointed when I first saw the Ohio River. However, it did prepare me for The Big Muddy. So, even though I may not be impressed by the color of the river in my new home state, I still see the Mighty MO as one impressive river. After all, it does have the largest watershed of our nation. The Mississippi may have been discovered first, but some say it should be considered a tributary of the Missouri, and that the Missouri runs from the mountains to the gulf.
    It will be good to see you on that darkest of days, coming mid-day, as it does.

  2. Yes. That has impressed me, too, that the father of waters is really only a brother. We humans tend to put things into separate baskets, when in fact all water is one great matrix of flow and interchange. I remember in elementary school being impressed by a song: “We’re all living under and ocean of air.” I can never forget that. Never have. The rivers of fluid even, in my mind, extend down into rock and liquid magmas deep underneath our feet. Time is moving and we are merely thoughtful specks of dust. Good to think with you brother.

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