Monday, July 09, 2007

Down to the river


Whether it’s to escape the heat, or recover from a lousy day at work, I’ve always found the river can wash all of one’s troubles away. Lately, I have been spending a fair amount of time on the river.

Songsters have sung of the healing effect of water nearly as long as there has been song. The symbolism of the river, washing and carrying one’s troubles away, is a powerful image. For several religions, Christianity and Hinduism in particular, the river holds a particularly important place as a symbol of renewal.

Rivers also played a major part in the colonization of North America by Europeans. Most major cities in the eastern half of the continent were established as either deep water ports along the coast (Boston, New York, Halifax, St. Augustine) or at the limit of navigation, where ships encountered rapids or shallow waters and trade goods had to be carried further by wagon (Richmond, Philadelphia, Baltimore). Of course, many of these trade routes were well established long before the first European arrived on these shores.

For me the river offers an escape. The journey doesn’t matter so much, nor does the destination, just to be on the water is enough. On these sweltering days, I can think of no place I’d prefer to be, than on the river.

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
-from: Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Riverside Ramblers - Drifting Along.mp3

John Hartford - Watching The River Go By.mp3

Sam Bush - Same Ol' River.mp3

Bill Staines - So Sang the River.mp3

6 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

I feel cooler already.... Thanks, Ed, esp. for the Hartford.

July 10, 2007 10:04 AM  
Anonymous dan said...

Great posts! I can't believe that the Sam Bush hasn't been covered by a big name. Or has it? I agree with you - water offers ultimate relaxation and escape. For the next couple of weeks, I'm heading into northern Canada to enjoy water, sun and fish. Bass beware!

July 10, 2007 6:21 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Greg, It seems as though even virtual rivers offer some cooling.

July 10, 2007 8:12 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Dan, "Same Ol' River" was written by Jeff Black, a very talented songwriter who has released a few of his own CDs. I love the sentiment expressed in the song. It has long been a favorite of my daughter and is one of our favorite songs to play and sing together.

Enjoy your time in the northwoods.

July 10, 2007 8:18 PM  
Blogger pineyflatwoodsgirl said...

Thanks for this post, Ed. As the Mudcat resident Hartford fanatic and an old river rat, I surely enjoyed these tunes. But how do you capture the mp3s on itunes? I forgot what you told me before.....

July 10, 2007 8:58 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Pineyflatwoodsgirl, it's good to hear from a fellow river rat and Hartford aficionado.

I had to remove the WebJay button that loaded the music automatically. WebJay was bought by Yahoo and will shut down at the end of this month, it hasn’t been working correctly for several months anyway. Until I can find a replacement, you’ll have to right click on the song title and “Save target as” to save it to your hard drive. Sorry for the inconvenience.

If you just want to listen without saving, the blue “play” arrow next to the song title will play the music through a universal, web-based player.

BTW – Your photos are always so beautiful. Thanks for sharing them. You have inspired me to pull my camera out of the dry bag more often.

July 10, 2007 9:59 PM  

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