It’s hard to describe certain words like “strong” or “brave” out here on the road until you meet, quite unexpectedly, a person like young cancer survivor Austin Price. And such it is with how one attempts going about putting into words, or even video, how it makes you feel inside to traverse the Upper Mississippi River.
The word that came to me yesterday morning (just previous to a fierce wind storm), was the word “bliss”. To be out here on the river, at certain spells, is quite simply a blissful experience. It takes your mind away from all your challenges, away from where you think you have to get yourself off to. There is no rush. There is no hurry. The current of the river takes you, here in the river’s boyhood (as Eddy L. Harris said, “where he’s getting muddier and wilder by the mile”) and gently sweeps you into a situation where you are quite literally surrounded by living nature in all directions that you look. In the river itself as you follow the underwater reeds that point the way forward, with fish darting this way and that; along the banks, where one will find deer and painted turtles and beavers and all sorts of wild fowl; as well as up above, as the clouds and the wind hold sway with the with crisp, ever-changing sky.
Such a moment I have just felt and against my better judgement I will attempt to put it into words, to shoot a little to let you see, for a moment of my trip, what I see.
We just portaged the paper mill dam at Brainerd, Minnesota. I use the collective “we” because I hope that you are enjoying this sojourn extraordinaire right along with me.
Met a fellow traveller named Dick Conant who is also going to be canoeing the entire Mississippi River – although he’s headed to Norfolk, Virgina. I’ll be bringing you a very short interview of Dick and his trip a little later. Every year a very small handful of people do the Mississippi – incredible to meet one this early on. Just amazing!
The river has a refreshing, very welcome current here following the dam and I wanted to try to capture what I’m experiencing – right now. I’m editing and uploading this short piece on my canoe as the rain just begins to come down.
In a true, quite phenomenal moment of bliss.