Old Man River

I have spent most of my life in this Iowa Mississippi River town, so the river has been an important part of my life.  Living near the river makes me feel grounded. It’s always there, full of life and always an odd sort of comforting presence.  I grew up a few blocks from the north bluff that overlooks the river.  I would walk our Dachshund, Peppy to the park several times a week when the weather was nice and watched boaters and barges and fantasized about what it would be like to be out there on the water.  Sometimes I would squint and was sure I could see the arched curves of a Mississippi Loch Ness Monster.

As a teen my neighborhood friend and I would spend hours at the park discussing the multitude of problems in our complicated teenage lives, which now are mostly laughable compared to my adult problems.  Perspective is everything.  We would carve our initials in the green picnic table as dusk approached and we swooshed the mosquitos away.

As a young adult I would walk by the river hand in hand with my boyfriend, have picnics at the riverside park, or eat an ice cream cone and watch the water roll by.  These days I find myself working in an office building near the river.  I sit by the water’s edge during my lunch hour or take a walk by the river front and feel the sunshine on my face.  The top photo was taken looking upriver one afternoon after work on a particularly pretty day with puffy clouds accenting the bridge.  The bottom photo was taken this morning looking down river toward the BNSF bridge.  It’s open to allow a barge to pass down river.  Every morning I gaze at the water and watch the gulls as I park my car in the lot next to the water’s edge and prepare for my work day.  I appreciate the river in a new way now and almost feel a bit of giddy excitement as I drive toward work and see it off in the distance on highway 34.  I am amazed how it looks a bit different every day. Some days it’s hazy, cloudy, sunny, fog, or a light mist. The clouds are absolutely stunning some mornings and I have to stop and take a picture.  It’s a lovely thing to appreciate the natural beauty around us, whether trees, a bright sunny day, or the massive and mighty Mississippi.

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