While out for a drive…
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A Sacramento River Remembrance

In many areas the banks of the Sacramento River are densely covered with a variety of foliage; at places there are huge Sycamores encumbered with wild grapevines.  I looked over  at the dense cover on the other bank;  the air was still and the surface of the water was calm, and except for the occasional squawking of magpies it was silent. As I sat there gazing out across the water as it slowly moved by, I pictured a summer,long ago, working for my grandfather. I was about twelve at the time, and each morning we would drive Twenty miles up the valley to where he farmed along the river. I did some irrigating and hoeing, but mostly I just hung around and explored the river.

At my favorite spot there was a small wooden raft tethered to the shore. I would sit on it and look at the birds and watch the occasional fish jump. At some point I would hear a horn somewhere downriver, and I would become alert with expectation. There was a bend some two hundred feet downstream from me;  so I couldn’t see what was coming,  but soon there would be a large wave pushing around the bend. And then there it was, this huge barge plowing through the river being pushed by a tugboat. It was all very exciting! The calm and the silence were completely disturbed. And then came the wake of the tug upending the raft, and I had to hold on for dear life!  Soon it would  be over, and the powerful calm of the river would be in charge again.

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