We end our nearly two-week sojourn on the Wisconsin river today with last pictures in the Wisconsin River #2 folder. There is no #3 folder: just the Wisconsin River and Wisconsin River #2 folders. Life along and on the river is something Mark Twain spent a career doing. Tom Sawyer and Huck Fynn became iconic literary characters on the Mississippi River. Ulysses S. Grant realized during the American Civil War that if the South controlled the Mississippi, they controlled the North. He wandered down the river conquering city after city that was part of the South. Rivers like Wisconsin seem to flow slowly past you, although their currents are a lot stronger than people think.
The amusement park ride “the lazy river” really doesn’t apply. Well, it does apply in that riding on an inflated inner tube slowly spinning around in the water is fun. It just isn’t the same as a river. As a young person, we used to Canoe the Blue River in Indiana. Sometimes the river was swollen with water, and frankly, that made it difficult to navigate. Late spring was a difficult time to canoe the river. But if you went later in the summer the dry months would drain the river of water. You could, at times hear the canoe scrape the rocks that were the river bed. Late summer was fun to be on the water, but canoeing was different then. You had to approach the river differently.
As we bid adieu to a river with water that flowed past my father’s camera lens more than 50 years ago, I have to wonder where that water is now. Water is life; human beings have used it as a highway. Human beings have used it as a bathing system. Humans have used the water to drink and to share water with farm animals. Water is an essential component of human life. The water, from 50 years ago, evaporated and shared again as rain. Or, flowing with the river to the Mississippi and then to the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps that water has moved across the Atlantic Ocean to flow in the Nile. Or perhaps it has moved south to flow in the Amazon. It is no longer water contained by the banks of the Wisconsin River. With that, we as well as the very water pictured, move on.