My heart runs like the Mississippi

Screenshot 2016-07-22 at 17.14.00

I grew up on the coast, and one of the first things I learned as a child is that the water is not only your friend, it’s also your enemy.

It’s strong and unforgiving and will not allow any mistakes. But it’s also soft and friendly and peaceful.

These were the thoughts in the back of my mind when I first visited the Mississippi river in Missouri. It looks so peaceful, so friendly. Almost like it’s smiling at you. And I made the mistake to think it’s ‘just’ a river. It wasn’t an ocean, so it couldn’t be that bad right?

“So, in two seconds, away we went, a sliding down the river, and it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big river and nobody to bother us.” – Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)

But then I talked to Steve. A retired man that lives in a small Missouri town on the Mississippi. ‘I’ve lived here for 37 years’, he told me about five minutes after I first met him. ‘And my  house floods almost every year.’ There was no sadness in his eyes as he told me this. He was just stating a fact.

Water is your friend. It brings you joy and hope. We wouldn’t be able to live without it. But it’s also your enemy if you don’t pay attention.

I couldn’t help myself but ask Steve the question he’s probably been asked many times over the years. ‘Why don’t you move elsewhere?’

He didn’t have to think long about his answer. ‘Because I love this town and the people that live here. And this town would have never existed without that river.’

 

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4 thoughts on “My heart runs like the Mississippi

  1. [Found you at the Community Pool] It sounds like Steve is set in his ways. I understand he feels at home right where he is. I guess he has gotten used to the flooding [although curious about what exactly he means by “floods almost every year”]. It seems like the property itself would be muddy and the house literally falling apart and damp. Maybe even full of mold and rot. Just saying. Change often takes a back seat to a body’s comfort zone, and sometimes people don’t feel they deserve any better than what they’ve got, or where they already are. Fascinating! Water, like nature itself must be respected. Maybe Steve is in such awe of this waterway that he’s grown an attachment to it that it simply refuses to break. It’s part of who he is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do think that Steve has grown an attachment to the water and I think that’s beautiful. His house, just like many on the Mississippi is actually built on a high frame to fight the floodings. It helps to keep most of his possessions dry, but it’s still tough as it’s hard to get out of the house in times of flooding and he does need to have work done to his house quite often because it deteriorates more quickly than most. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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