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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Life and the Mississippi

By Rick Blumenberg / @rickblumenberg 

I grew up around the Mississippi River in Southeast Missouri. At one time our family owned a farm on Wolf Island—a Kentucky Island on the Missouri side of the Mississippi. We never actually lived on the island, but we farmed the land for several years and during that time my siblings and I helped to work the land and care for the livestock and played in the woods that surrounded our fields and visited the Mississippi River that flowed less than a mile from our land.

This amazing river begins as a trickle in Northern Minnesota, but by the time it passed our island it was more than a quarter mile wide and a highway for huge caravan-like barges that carry the goods for America and the world. From Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana, this river drains water from 31 states and pumps an average of 593,000 cubic feet of fresh water per second into the Gulf of Mexico.

As a boy, it was the most exciting thing in my life, from the unique sound foghorns late on a rainy night to the excitement of seeing huge barge fleets that I watched while dreaming of a future as a riverboat captain. Our island was just a few miles south of where the huge Ohio River entered the Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois, and many miles farther down this great river disappears into the gulf.

In so many ways the Mississippi is like life, so here’s my poetic take on Life and the Mississippi

Life and the Mississippi
   by Rick Blumenberg

Turned aside by pebbles in its infancy
and easily cut off.

Racing over boulders
in youthful excitement.

Grown to maturity
with burdens not it's own,

Perpetually moving
into the gulf stream of eternity. 

Who can possibly know
the destiny of a trickle?

 I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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