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LMRD 797 - Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Lower Mississippi River"
Saturday, Sept 19, 2020 ~ Flow River preparation of autumnal equinox
and the promised land to come...

(re-running with corrections and additions) the middle of a long weekend with friends, I made a terrasect of the deep woods of a familiar point wrapped by a giant, 180 degree semi-circular turn of the big muddy momma mississippi... i walked barfefoot, the ground crumbling beneath my foosteps through the brown-black mud and sand, no poison ivy anywhere...

...i found a healthy 2nd growth forest full of ferns, mosses, delicate flowers, thriving wildlife, birds, mammals, insects, paw-paws and persimmons aplenty -- i became a seed-distributor, i carried thousands of seeds home on my sun-protective clothing, i carried insects also -- I woke up the morning after trip with 5 tiny ticks in a private area, 3 of them in places I couldn't see, and had to use mirror to find. Yuck! Yikes! — i'd rather have mosquitoes any day over ticks! but the welts they left are now a constant reminder of the wild, of the tiny pains you feel along with sunburn, windburn, and a few scrapes and scratches, the badges you return home with, they become part of your life henceforth...

...and yet what happens if we don't allow our rivers to be rivers? what are the rights of man? and what are the rights of nature? we all (all species) need clean water to drink and bathe in (and swim in), we all need clean air to breathe, all 5 million species of us, and counting, probably double that. the sky is a river, the river a sky, let them flow on by. we are all connected by the flowing surrounding us, and constantly nurturing us towards -- and guiding us -- to the promised land. we quapaws are looking deep inside, and following the light we see glowing just around the bend, and are making preparations for the new world to come... it all depends on the flow... the flowing of clean air... and clean rivers... the flow of all of the systems surrounding the big muddy waters of the biggest river in our continent... and the waters flowing, and the atmosphere flowing over all continents...

...recently mother river, mother nature and mother earth all combined to make for an incredible cornucopia of bio-bliss... many before me, and many to follow, i felt irresistably drawn towards mysterious sources of light... and life...

What happens
when we let a river
flow like a river?

what happens when we allow a river:
to meander through its natural floodplain like a river?

To move mountains of mud, to define delicate florals, like a river?

to frame elegance, and beauty, like a river?

to give life, and then take it away, like a river?

to move in and out of its willow wetlands, like a river?

to flood, like a river?

to sustain life, in all its myriad forms, like a river?

to draw and redraw patterns, like a river?

To split solid form, and reveal the beauty within, like a river?

to plant seeds, and nourish their fruit to ripeness, like a river?

To find a niche for endless possibility of form & color, like a river?

to allow the existence of swirling expressions, like a river?

to destroy, rearrange, and then re-create, like a river?

to leave tracks in the morning, like a river, and then remove them at night?

To reflect light, like a river, and to make shadows from light?

to fertilize the soil, and make room for all creation, like a river?

to mesmerize the imagination, like a river?

to share all the wealth -- and all the trash, like a river?

to flourish in fractals, like a river?

to find focus amongst the monotony, like a river?

to open the pathway towards the light, like a river?

to nourish the mammals, like a river?

to articulate absurdity, to give a home to all, like a river?

to hollow out safe harbors, like a river?

to make us dance, to make us sit in wonder, like a river?

to buoy our vessels, like a river?

to feed us, like a river?

to mix art and commerce, like a river?

What will happen when we allow a river to flow, like a river?

...we will meet the grace of the creator, forever flowing... the river, somewhere in between heaven and earth...

...and we will exist, like the river, somewhere in between the two...

Let a River Flow Like a River
poem, photos and sketches by John Ruskey
Quapaw Canoe Company

please feel free to share, but credit appropriately!


Balance, Diversity, Democracy

Quapaw Canoe Company core values are balance, diversity, and democracy, which all derive from our experience paddling big canoes on the big waters of North America. Balance is exemplified by the passage of our canoes. Everything we do is about keeping even keel. To do otherwise is dangerous to our health and well-being. Pandemic and police brutality are symptoms of the imbalance we seek to counteract in our services and work as canoe builders, guides & outfitters. Other imbalances include species loss, global warming, and loss of wild places. Diversity for us includes all peoples and all creatures great and small. We have always created equal access for all. Our staff reflects our regional demographics, around 60% Black and 40% White. Since 1998 we have made it our mission to make sure all communities found along the Lower Mississippi River enjoy equal access to the wonders of the big river, and the life-changing experience of the wilderness. Our adventures practice the best qualities of Democracy. Everyone in the big canoe sets aside their differences and paddles together for the good of the whole. We believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Inherent in life is the right to breathe clean air, the right to drink clean water, the right to eat good food, and the right to live in healthy shelter, in healthy communities.




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 for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.


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