Growing up, I took the river for granted. I didn’t even realize that there were parts of the world where a creek is considered a river. (I’m looking at you, Utah.) I didn’t realize how beautiful or unique the Mississippi River was or how lucky I was to grow up on the beautiful bluffs of its shore.
It probably comes as no surprise that I thought Mark Twain’s writing was boring. For a girl who wanted to escape to Europe, California, New York, or anywhere but home, reading about her own backyard felt like a waste of time. But in college, my views changed. Sitting in the middle of yet another Idaho blizzard, I reread Adventures of Huckleberry Finnin all of its glory.
I hated living in Idaho. I hated the snow. I hated being so far from family. I hated how brown everything was. And I hated the dryness. Surrounded by a prison of mountains with no water to be found.
As I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I saw the Mississippi River in a new light. I realized that one of the reasons I hated Idaho was because I missed living by the river. I missed seeing the water. I missed watching her muddy waves freeze into chunks of ice. I missed watching her swell in the spring, teasing us with a threat of destruction that looked so beautiful.
I missed home.
A few months later, we traveled the long journey from Idaho to Illinois. The endless brown rocks of Wyoming nearly drove me insane, but the closer we got to Illinois, the more water we encountered. Small creeks, ponds, and lakes beckoned me home.
And then, finally, after days of driving and too little sleep…
The Mississippi River.
I will never forget the joy that the Mississippi River brought me on that early morning. As I crossed over her muddy water at four in the morning, I vowed I would never forget the joy she brought me again.
The Mississippi River is my home.
A couple weeks ago, Annan and I went on a photo-date to take pictures of the river. It was really just an excuse to play with our new Canon Rebel T5 and have fun for free together. (Read about our photo-date to the carnival.) It was freezing, but we got a few good shots.
Where is your home? And what makes it unique? I’d love to hear in the comments section.
I mean no offense by the phrase “prison of mountains”. I know lots of people who LOVE Utah and Idaho and miss the mountains when they leave like I missed the river. I’d love to hear about what you miss when you are far from home.
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