Right now, as you sit reading this, the rivers are running. This morning when you woke up and tonight when you go to bed, the water winds its way over rocks, sand, muck, fallen trees, and weeds.
Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year of every century of every millennium since the last Ice Age… the water keeps falling toward the sea.
For all the metaphors of rivers as change, rivers are also a great constant in life. Same as it ever was.
One spot in the St. Croix River region kept pulling me back this summer. A friend is living on the banks of a major tributary, just a couple hundred yards upstream of where it joins the St. Croix. His cabin is perched on the banks next to the fast water and riffles that mark its last drop before it hits slow, broad waters.
It’s a good place to write, to swim, to paddle, fish, and sit on the deck with a beer and the steady sound of rushing water.
I also got a phone that can take decent slow-motion video, and found it can capture the complexity of moving water in unique ways. It shows how each little wave has its own causes and effects. It shows geometric shapes, natural chaos, and patterns endlessly unique.
So I made little videos of the river and compiled them below. You’ll see quite a bit of that tributary, but also a few shots of the St. Croix proper, and one northern Minnesota stream that sneaked in. You will also see one piece of footage obviously out of place: a beer can bobbing in the water, a sign of how people continue to take our rivers for granted and abuse them like a rented car, and not a beloved heirloom.
Slow down and enjoy a couple minutes of the water moving at a glacial pace.