Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL (don't write about the song) (04/02/15)
- TITLE: STORIES OF THE RIVERS
By David Morey
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After high school, I headed north - to the middle of the state. Macon has a lazy river of its own. Ocmulgee is its name and many of my great adventures happened in its waters and along its banks. A good friend and I slogged countless miles through creeks that flowed under highways, past apartments, under trestles and into the Ocmulgee itself. We hopped across the river on rocks when the water was low. Well, almost. There was always one channel that we had to swim. We swam at an angle upstream. The current would sweep us back down to the protruding rocks where we would start our hop again. It always made me nervous to take that plunge. But, Fred was alpha dog and I followed him across every time.
One memorable day, my pledge brother and I were tasked with floating a half-full keg (I'll tell you it was root beer if you're willing to believe) out to a mid-river island where thirsty fraternity boys waited for us. The water was running swift that day and was about chest high. We were fighting our way across – trying to keep our footing on the rocky riverbed - and not doing very well. I had the bright idea that we should lay across the keg and try to swim it along. As soon as Shannon and I picked up our feet, we took off. By the time we were back on our feet, we were way downstream. It’s not the smartest thing I ever did but I was young and had not yet considered the probabilistic realities associated with routinely taking such foolish risks. I'm more careful these days. I figure I only have a few chances left.
On another and very memorable day the Ocmulgee awoke from its usual slumber and raged. Our apartment complex, close by, flooded and we were boated away. I saw it. I lived it. It’s still hard to believe. But, just a few weeks later, we were back in the creeks and back on the banks. The river was scarred and churned by the recent flood. In time, it resumed its former state – the old, peaceful, handsome river that I loved.
I’ve rafted down the Nantahala. The Nantahala is a beautiful river in North Carolina that is so cold it will take your breath away. Rafting the river is fun. When Boy Scouts start splashing each other and I’m in their midst, it’s not as much fun. Falling out of the raft is anything but fun.
Picnics on the Suwannee and the Chattahoochee I fondly recall. Quiet time on the Alapaha River at our Boy Scout camp is refreshing - especially to an old scout leader like me.
I love rivers.
The Ohio is my newest river friend. No big adventures there but, in the last few years, I have crossed it many times. It is big and broad and splendid to behold.
On a recent Sunday, my family and I strolled along the Ohio's shore. It was a sunny, chilly, beautiful day. With Louisville as a backdrop (from the Indiana side) we took pictures and watched a coal barge float by. We had traveled to Kentucky for a wedding. My nephew married a wonderful girl and we were so pleased that we could be there. Two weeks before, in a cemetery not too far from the Flint, we laid my brother to rest. My nephew was there.
Our lives are a lot like rivers, you know. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes parched; sometimes peaceful, sometimes raging; moving onward, always evolving and flowing towards its inevitable end. And, the hand that carves the riverbeds will faithfully direct the currents that will eventually carry us home – if we’re willing to take the plunge.
My life is not the Ohio. It’s not that big. My life is not the Nantahala. It’s more warm than cold. I think my life is a bit like the Ocmulgee or Flint - modest, mostly peaceful and moving steadily on. I'm all in and it is well. How about you?
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