31 August 2013

7 yo river

i grew up on a river. i forget that this means that i NEED a river.

it's kind of like how, if your local zoo has pandas, you kind of assume they have pandas at every zoo.  if you grow up on a river, you think it's not a real city if there isn't a river. my family's time in atlanta in the early 90s probably feels so unreal precisely because atlanta has no river.

because there's something permanent about a river. something solid. which kind of makes no sense, i realize, because a river is always moving, always vacillating, flowing, volatile. it is always going up and down and trying to leave.

but then i'm always trying to leave. so maybe that's why i love a river? because i recognize in a river impulses of my own.

i forget that i NEED a river and yet, this past january, i chose this particular flat because of its proximity to the river. then i walked along it maybe six times in the last six months. in the words of blair waldorf's step-dad cyrus rose: NOT ENOUGH! 

late yesterday afternoon, wanting to take advantage of what is presumably one of the few 75 degree days left to us and yet too restless to commit another hour to the continued cultivation of The Tan of My Life, i went for a walk along the thames.

which- at the point where it passes my neighborhood- reminds me, oddly, of both newport, rhode island and memphis.

which also reminded me how terribly much i need a river.

it's like blowing your nose, this need to see water. an expiation, a recalibration, a resettling of the soul. in the smell of fish and pebbles, in the sight of the rays of the lowering sun clashing against dirty water.

i am a woman who needs dirty water near.


Meggie said...

Sweetie, Atlanta does have a river. You lived nowhere near it. We have the Chattahoochee. I live a mile from it.

Meggie said...
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oline said...

yes, but that's not really in atlanta. i'm talking about a proper river in the downtown, as in memphis or chicago or london. even nashville's is almost a bit too wimpy. (and, yes, i'm a river snob)

oline said...

i should mention though that i have rafted on the chatahoochie (a name that PAINS me because it immediately gets that stupid song in my head). it is famous in eaton family lore as the trip where my father sunburned the bottoms of his feet.

Katie C said...
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Katie C said...

I'm not sure what this says about me but I was singing just around the river bend whilst reading this post. you know- "what I love most about rivers is, you can't step in the same river twice." Man. I loved that soundtrack. Pocahontas was my jam. hahaha

mak said...


The biggest flaw I find with where I live now (which I utterly love) is that I don't live near a river. And when I say 'river' I mean A River - not the little piddly creeks that pass as rivers around here.

Your river is my river, only a bit further south. The Upper Mississippi, she sings to my heart and it is a sad, sad song when I am gone so long.