Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 204 Old Man River

Dear friends,

I suppose it had to rain today. The blue skies of yesterday inevitably go gray at some point, and they’ll go blue again too. Such is the weather, especially in the Northeast, where Mark Twain said “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute…”

Mark Twain has captured my imagination of late, as he has done for many for over a hundred years. I am planning to read “Huckleberry Finn” this summer, a well known book but not necessarily well read. I enjoy the witticisms of Twain, but I think I connect with him more for his love of rivers. I have always had a fascination with these long, winding bodies of water since I can remember, and living but a mile or so from the Hudson is an every day treat. I drive over the Dunn Memorial Bridge almost daily, and I never cross it without looking out at that great river, with a rich natural and social history. It never gets old for me. When I had the chance to tour the “Half Moon”, a replica of Henry Hudson’s original ship, I fantasized for days about sailing up the Hudson in the 1600’s, when the river was pristine, and thought about how Henry’s capitalistic wheels must have turned when he entered New York Harbor. In reality, I would have lasted 2 or 3 days eating hard tack, and I get terribly motion sick, so Hudson’s crusty crew would have thrown me overboard (as they eventually did to him, by the way), shortly after the whining began…

I recall a sweet moment when Stephen, or maybe Hannah, was at Sunnyview and I crossed the Hudson with pink and orange clouds reflecting off its relatively calm surface. I could only look briefly because I was driving, but the memory is worth a million dollars to me now. The river was so long, and wide, and changing, and the sky so wintry vibrant, and it seemed to me that no matter what happened, everything would be ok. God wrote a message in the mighty Hudson that day, and I was able to read the handwriting. I’ve missed many of His letters, but not that day. And I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life. Someday, I’d like to go to Mount Marcy and see the little trickle that starts the whole stream rolling bigger and bigger, until it dumps into the waters of that wild city, 150 miles south of here. Anyway, just go sit by that river sometime, and use your imagination. That’s what Mark Twain did with the Mississippi, and the rest is history…

The Great One promises a river in heaven:

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.” Rev. 22:1-3


I leave you with a good, sensible quote by Mark Twain:

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

Your friend on the pilgrim river,


1 comment:

Jessica said...

I love the Hudson River! I drive over it at least once a day, and it's also part of my daily commute to work. I didn't start to fully appreciate it until I started to learn the history of it- Henry Hudson, the Dutch, etc. Albany is so rich with fascinating stories and now when I drive by the Hudson I think of what it must have been like back then.
I'm sure there's a spiritual application you could find in there somewhere, Loriann, but I was just commenting as one history loving dork to another. :)
Hope you enjoy today's beautiful weather!
Jessica D.