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LMRD 755, Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019
The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Mississippi River"



Some meandering muddy thoughts in the glow of the last magical light of the year -- we Quapaws recently completed our last long trip (4-day), and have secured the big-nosed canoes for their winter hibernation under our giant awning located along the banks of the Sunflower River in downtown Clarksdale, Miss. On a rainy day winter solstice I sat in between the 29' voyageur canoes and listened to them talking to each other and sharing stories and adventures, a cold rain falling -- and here's what I heard:



Sun, Dec 23, cold rain Sunflower River, gutter splashing sparkling crashing, shiny ramp, shiny mud, shiny leaves, river rain-disk dimpled and separated by ripply reflections into long snaky cloud shape surface patterns, the Queens of the Lower Mississippi River, the grand voyageur canoes, the Ladybug, Junebug II, Grasshopper, Mahogany Mary Bays, and the big belly baby (yet un-named) all resting nose to nose and side-by-side, snuggled in their overhang winter hibernation and sharing stories from the year on the river...





The ups and downs, the long serene stretches, the ripping currents and crashing waves, the sand and mud and foam and bubbling brilliance, and all of the adventures in our existence strung out on a 1,000 mile long muddy tumblehome laid bare between the forested islands and the endless sky, the Voyageurs and the Brits, the Mississippi Magics and the JA kids, the KIPPsters and the GRIOTs, the Springsters and the Palestine-Wheatleys, the Islanders and the Canoe Kamikazes, the Amazing River Nurses, the Fathers and Sons, the Mothers and Daughters, Super Blood Wolf Moon Full Moon Eclipse, the Boys & Girls Club, the Aussies and the Journalists, the week-long Summer Camp for Delta Kids and "Little Mister and Missus-sippi," Juke Joint and Sunflower Fest, The Revivalists and the Be-A-Mans, the MRNs and the Augsburgs, the Tupelo Quapaws and Voyageurs Canot du Fleuve...



...the boils and eddies, the whirpools, the monarchs and king beavers, the pelicans and snow geese, the coyotes and deer, the bobcats and river otter, the cottonwood borers and wild bees, the spiny softshells and Mississippi mud turtles, the flooded trees, the canoe canopy, the fleeing mammals, the depth and breadth of creation, the swirling forever swirling, the freeze and the brilliant geometry of ice...



...the eager anticipation of Mark River in all his motions, his podcast "May the River be with You," the zealous madness of Tan-Tan, Capt. Kambucha, the bear-like spirit in Water Possum Layne Logue (Quapaw Vicksburg), "Mr. Smooth" Ellis Coleman greeting us to shore with his frog-like "whoo-whoop!"



...our long meandering run in 2019 through the months, almost shut down by spring rains and high water, and then blessed with long seasons following, and many rejuvenating adventures, and the river touching hundreds of hearts and turning any frowns around and converting them into smiles...



...and now the incredible opportunity to take a deep breath and lay low, and look inward, and explore the crusty interior places long neglected by the rigor of the work, here in this precious gap of time in between one year and the other, every year the long days and short nights becoming more precious and more significant as our earth increasingly suffers, all creatures need a little mercy now, providence extends to all in need in all walks of life, in all biota, the amazing grace in the mid-winter lull, remember the heat of the summer, remember the connection between all life, and the flowing forever flowing through it all, we send you and your loved ones our big river blessings in this glorious last light of the year, forever shining and flowing for you whenever you step outside and seek it...





































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May the River be With You:
Episode #5 "River Music," featuring artists
Lucious Spiller and Meghan Maike!
Tune in
on Stitcher -- Or on Apple Podcasts



Looking Downstream: Upcoming LMRD issues will feature a retreat in the Grand Canyon, and Voyageur Canoe Camp (Concordia Language Villages -- an immersion program at Mississippi River headwaters in the tradition of the French Fur trade in big canoes).

Also, coming in the New Year, our annual "Dreams Issue" concerning Mother Earth and our beloved Lower Mississippi River!

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The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write info@island63.com for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to www.island63.com and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.

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The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Quapaw Canoe Company

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Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River, overseen by the LMRF:

www.rivergator.org

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Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?

www.wildmiles.org

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Our Friends:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation is dedicated to promoting stewardship of the Lower and Middle Mississippi River through deep engagement.

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1Mississippi River Citizen Program: River Citizens are people who want to clean up and protect America’s greatest River. Whether in armchairs or wading boots, River Citizens protect the River by speaking up on its behalf and caring for it in simple ways that make a big difference. Together, we can protect the River for future generations. Take the first step today and sign up for free as a River Citizen at www.1Mississippi.org. 1Mississippi, can the River count on you?"

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The Walter Anderson Museum of Art inspires discovery, imagination, and community-building on the Gulf Coast and beyond through programs, exhibitions, and outreach; and embodies Walter Anderson’s vision for societies in harmony with their environments. "Our mission is to empower lifelong curiosity and connection to the natural world through the art of Walter Anderson and kindred artists."

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LEAN: the Louisiana Environmental Action Network: Before LEAN was founded in 1986, polluters ran roughshod over Louisiana’s unique environment and way of life. Since then LEAN has fought to safeguard not just Louisiana’s scenic beauty, wildlife and culture but more importantly those underserved citizens that don’t have a voice. Help LEAN serve the needs of Louisiana's communities.

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The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people every year. Enjoy your world. Leave No Trace.

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Coahoma Collective catalyzes arts-driven, community-inclusive revitalization in downtown Clarksdale

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Big Muddy Adventures: adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.