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Monday, April 15, 2013

Big River

“River so wide and so deep
Wake the sandman from his sleep
River remind him
He has a promise to keep,” -- Roy Orbison

Saturday, April 13, 2013

From this high up – looking down from the bluffs – I don’t see the Hudson as a river at all, at least, not what I think of as a river, a place where trees and reeds grow.
Close up, down blow, those things exist, but by accident, cropping out of the cracks in concrete from neglected pieces of the city that surrounds it.
This is too big a river for me to take in, even from this high up, and sanding here at the foot of an historic canon facing south, I ache for the green I see over my shoulder to the north, near where the bridge marks a famous general’s retreat, near where city and its cracked concrete comes to an end and country starts.
I love small rivers like the Passaic, even polluted, stark with the stench of reality, and the concept of a cure.
When a big river goes bad, I feel helpless to stop it, like some world catastrophe, like large nations rushing to war, massive tides carrying all to the sea with no one vote or hope to cope with it.

On a small river, tides change speed, not always in a rush to get anywhere at all, with eddies to linger or get stuck in, smaller challenges one person might be able to overcome.
I understand the lure of large river and the rush the rapid water brings. Those who survive the high tides here find greatness no small river can give. But in the hurry, in the rush to fame, we miss too much, leaving the small things to go unnoticed, leaving bits of our lives lost in the bigger picture.
And seated her on this cool bench in spring, looking down at the water and the walkways, I see only the tiny does of people, not the people whose faces I can still recall from sitting on the side of the Passaic, and though this river has its fishermen and its hobos, its sailors and its luscious skies, it is not the same – too much in the big picture for me to grab hold of.

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