Walking Down a River
The Cowpasture River, Bath County, Virginia
I never throw away a book I have bought. They line my work spaces, my studio, my bedroom. One glance at a shelf reminds me of where I have been, what has occupied my mind and my time, who I am. They are like oracles. Pulling out Edwin Way Teale's Journey Into Summer recently my eyes fell on this, from a chapter entitled, Walking Down a River, :
"...the way to become acquainted with an area intimately, to appreciate it best, is to walk over it. And the slower the walk the better. For a naturalist, the most productive pace is a snail's pace. A large part of his walk is often spent standing still. A mile an hour may well be fast enough. For his goal is different from that of the pedestrian. It is not how far he goes that counts; it is not how fast he goes; it is how much he sees.
And, in deeper truth, it is not just how much he sees. It is how much he appreciates, how much he feels. Nature affects our minds as light affects the photographic emulsion on a film. Some films are more sensitive than others; some minds are more receptive. To one observer a thing means much; to another the same thing means almost nothing. As the poet William Blake wrote in one of his letters: 'The Tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the Eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way.'
To the lost man, to the pioneer penetrating new country, to the naturalist who wishes to see wild land at its wildest, the advice is always the same - follow a stream. The river is the original forest highway. It is nature's own Wilderness Road."
Some of the rivers that I have "walked down:"
The Yellowstone, Montana
The Maury, Goshen Pass, Virginia
The Gihon, Near Johnsonville, Vermont
The Gihon - Sunset
The James, Richmond, Virginia - Evening
The Kennebec River, Maine - Evening, Looking South from Waterville
The Penobscot River, Maine - On the Way Home from Lubec
The Hocking River, Athens, Ohio, Winter
The Scioto River, Columbus, Ohio