My mom just doesn’t get it. She tries but can’t understand the place where I live. It’s a picturesque place, lush, unspoiled, a place of wonder and adventure, tranquility as well as excitement – but it’s not a place for her.
I live on the banks of the Kentucky River, near its confluence with another spectacular beauty, the Dix River. Both are framed by the majestic High Bridge, a historical reminder of man’s optimism and engineering daring of the late 1800’s to build the world’s highest railroad bridge. Limestone-filtered water meanders (oddly northwest) through striking palisades preserved in time by sheer inaccessibility. The flora and fauna are world renowned with many species existing only in this valley!
Being a river rat was not something I planned. In fact, I thought life would be more like Barbie and Ken’s – or at least like my friend Kim in the pretty Victorian house with a real live caged bunny in her backyard. Instead, I’ve taken root in an unlikely setting. There are no bunnies in cages or Barbie dream houses on our lane that ends in wilderness. (But there are four river cats guarding the trillium.)
2010 brought the third worst flood in history. Words cannot sufficiently describe the physical transformation or emotional extremes of those few weeks. And yet, one year later I struggle to find honorable adjectives for this resplendent place. The rivers remind me we are only here for a moment. The powerful force of that revelation cannot be altered or denied. All we can do is intentionally use the gifts we are given with gratitude and passion.
Thoreau said “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
I remain grateful to be the temporary caretaker of my little muddy acre of wilderness, soaking in the solitude for as long as the fish keep biting. And my mother can visit whenever she wants.