Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Day in the Life of the River

A Day in the Life of the River
            By Valerie L. Egar
The first rays of the sun touched the river, cutting through mist rising from the water. The light awakened a Canada Goose nesting on an island. Four goslings followed her into the water and swam downstream with the gander following behind to protect them.

The sun awakened the kingfisher. He darted over the water, looking for a tasty fish to catch.  All along the river, birds chirped and whistled, ready for a new day.
As the sun rose, it dappled the water with gold. A girl and her father stood on the riverbank, fishing. “Early morning is always the best time to fish,” her father said.
“When I caught the trout last week, it was 11:00,” she reminded him. “I could have slept a few more hours.” Her Dad laughed.
         Further down the river, a scout troop paddled kayaks through swift rapids. Negotiating the rocks was tricky, but fun. Water sprayed into the air and the sun turned the spray into rainbows. Everybody was happy when the water calmed and they pulled the kayaks onto the shore to eat lunch.
            After lunch, a few boys skimmed rocks across the water. “Can we go for a swim?” The leader nodded. Swinging from a vine that hung over the water and plopping into the river thrilled them. The afternoon was hot and cold water felt refreshing.
            The river threaded its way past farms where cows grazed near the water. It flowed through small towns. Young couples pushed baby strollers through a park on the waterfront. Children threw corn to ducks. Others sat on park benches and enjoyed watching the water flow by.
            Miles away, the river grew wider and cut through a city. A bridge arched over the water. As evening fell, the city’s lights reflected in the water and shimmered.
            The river grew still wider as it neared the sea. Its banks were sandy and the water tasted salty.  Most of the people near the river were fast asleep, but not the trucker, driving along the highway that skirted the water. He had a truck full of potatoes to drive south.

            The train engineer was awake too. Freight cars headed to distant cities rumbled on tracks next to the river. The engineer glimpsed the moon shining on the water. He yawned, eyeing the dark houses where people slept peacefully.
            From its source high in the mountains to its mouth where it emptied into the ocean, the river sparkled in moonlight. In darkness, animals came to the water’s edge to drink— moose and bear, bobcat and fox. A raccoon searched for mussels, otters played tag.
            Except for the sound of flowing water and an owl hooting now and then, the world was quiet. 

The sun would rise soon enough and a new day would begin. But for now, the river stretched mountain to sea wrapped in moon glow. And, from one dark house, a little face peeked out a window at her river friend before she fell back asleep.

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Copyright 2019 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be reproduced, copied or distributed without permission from the author.
Published June 15, 2019 Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME).


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