Some of the most important parts of our lives have occurred on or near rivers. Joanna was born near the “mighty Mississip,” while I grew up not far from (and as a teen driver nearly drove into) Idaho’s beautiful Clearwater River.
I camped and fished on the North Fork of the Clearwater and the Lochsa as a boy; now Joanna and I occasionally make it to those same rivers together. We’ve also fished and/or swam in the Yellowstone, the Columbia, the Salmon, the Tucannon, the Rogue, the Salt, the Spokane, the Clark Fork, the Boise, the Big Wood, the Pend Oreille, the Payette, the St. Joe, and (in three different states) the Snake, along with several others. We celebrated our first anniversary overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, caught sturgeon from a jet boat in Hell’s Canyon, and lived less than 50 feet from the Winchuck River for more than a year.
In other words, my wife and I have spent a lot of time during our marriage — to quote the title of a Loggins & Messina song — “watching the river run.”
One of my favorite authors of non-fiction, Edward Abbey, was a big fan of rivers. (One of his fictional works, “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” also inadvertently inspired Earth First!, along with “Hayduke Lives” bumper stickers and a joke that Joanna and I share when we’re frustrated with bureaucrats: “Let’s buy a blue jeep.”) And of course rivers often make necessary the bridges that I like so much.
“Watching the River Run” includes a nice mandolin part, and mentions what may be Joanna’s favorite tree, the willow. And I hope, despite having 33 years behind us, “We have just begun watching the river run.”
Lyrics here, with a video that includes some nice river photos below.