Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Mighty Miss...







Growing up on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi is something any child would've relished, as it's shoreline offered treasures galore. As kids, we spent nearly every weekend traveling to the sandbars in our trusty lil' v-hull aluminum boat...not the grand boats of our family friends, but the little fishing boat that would take us on those magical trips to the shores where exploration was our duty of the day...such treasures...sticks, stones and bones, everything a child could drag into our little boat to take home to display in our rooms. Once finding a cache of turtle eggs, I brought several home to bury in warm sand in hopes they would hatch into my river friends...well, we won't go into that story.
Always the explorers, my brother and I would run free on the beautiful banks, back in the fifties, not knowing the pollution that was discarded into her flow. Meat-packing plant, lumber manufacturing, city sewage, run-off from agriculture, industry, barge trash and just plain people, throwing everything of refuse into her swells, not caring what happened to the spoil.

Sadly today, I will not eat the fish from her depths, once teaming with catfish, sturgeon, walleye and carp. There is now mercury poisoning from coal-fired discharge, farm run-off from chemicals and animal wastes, lead and whatever else has seeped to her belly. Will our rivers and streams ever be pristine again. Sadly the toxins run the full gamut to the delta, where they're sucked into the Gulf of Mexico, causing dead-zones everywhere.
Sad scenario for what the Native Americans called the Big Muddy. But photos of her surface splendor, keeps my hope alive that some day we will be forced to give back to nature, so that species will thrive, not succumb. As flooding continues, year after year, we see changes in pattern, but the lore of the river remains.

8 comments:

Gothic Rose Antiques said...

Great photos! Somehow reminds me of my days on the Amazon in South America only that was surrounded by jungle instead of farmlands.
Hope you are having a great Halloween Season! I'm going to send you my want list of things I look for maybe we can do some business...
Crystal

summersundays-jw said...

Your pics are wonderful. Someday soon our waterways will have to be taken seriously (as to their clean-up). I can remember, as a little girl, our Dad stopping at a creek & letting us take a drink. He knew the ones that boiled out thru the rocks & came from deep in the earth. Of course those aren't safe anymore. What a shame!! Jan

Talking Trash said...

Ah, the power of the dollar and the wheels it greases in the name of progress, never mind what else gets oily in the process. All hiding behind the same chant-it's for the good of the people. Bah, humbug. I remember seeing the Mississippi the first time as a child and thinking it was the ocean, it was so big! Debbie

High Desert Diva said...

Wonderful post Sharon.

Maya said...

It is sad when you look beneath the surface...and see how humanity (ab)uses nature. Only recently I became aware of dead zones and garbage patches. I love the sea and believe that life (itself) will prevail.

Lisa B. said...

The river is such a big part of American iconography. Such a shame what we have done to her. I like to believe the saying..."when you know better, you do better". Sadly it doesn't seem to be true. We certainly know better...but it seems someone or something is going to have to make us do better.

willow said...

Yes, sad.

What year was that huge flood in the '90's? I couldn't believe how high the water lines were on the trees when we crossed the Mississippi on the way to Kansas City.

MuseSwings said...

Beautiful pictures! What we have done to our water! When first discovered it was clean pure water - and then we began to discover ways to make it what it is today.