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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 824
~~~~~~ Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 ~~~~~~~

Clarksdale, MS ~ Helena, AR ~ Memphis, TN ~ Vicksburg, MS
~~~~4th Chickasaw Bluff~~~~

I have been working with some friends on a super cool project

PS: that you could help us with! Do you know of any primary sources
regarding the following? K
eep reading -- and imagining -- below!

(Ancient Mouth of the Wolf River)

we are visualizing the the 4th Chickasaw Bluff before the arrival of homo sapiens

who might have first arrived (and then thrived) in giant dugout canoes

But let's leave behind all humans, in all our many eras, and retreat back

to the days when there was nothing by blowing dust below the stars

collecting in piles along the eastern edge of the Mississippi River
in a 1,000 mile long swath from the Pawnee Hills (today's southern Illinois)
to the edge the pleistocene shield (today's Baton Rouge)
dust scoured by the laurentide ice cap that covered North America
the largest dust field outside of China's Yellow Plateau
(A similar process along the Yangtze River)

great waters pouring out of the melting glaciers, the mile thick ice cap

the heavens glowed magnificently above the muddy waters
the entire earth could have been considered a deep, vast "dark sky"
because no one was lighting their lamps, burning forests, or refining oil

grasses, shrubs and trees followed the piles of dust

and the amphibians followed the plants

the birds arrived

the fish also

the mammals

the megafauna

this project will culminate in a trytich

imagining the 4th Chickasaw Bluff

centered around the ancient mouth of the Wolf River

near the depression where Beale Street now descends to the harbor

and the bluffs rise to either side, but most prominently to the south

the high ground of the Looshatchie rising (faintly seen)
beyond the Wolf River floodplain

And the 3rd Chickasaw Bluff even more faintly beyond
(today's Meeman Shelby State Park)

where downtown Memphis now rises in straight steel
and concrete lines with glass windows and steel bridges

The same bluff "ridge" that Chuck Berry sings about:

"her home is on the southside

high upon a ridge
just a hlaf a mile
from the Mississippi Bridge"

One view of the tryptich will view the river flowing downstream
into the Mississippi Delta over President's Island and past Chuckalissa

One view will look upstream over Loosahatchie Bar, the Hen & Chicks,
and the 3rd Chickasaw Bluff the last line of trees over the Wolf River bottoms

The centerpiece will be the ancient mouth
of the Wolf River meandering around the 4th Chickasaw Bluff
(This could be the Yazoo River at Vicksburg!)

Only the reflective patterns and motions of the muddy river will be the same

The flowing forever flowing

forever flowing through it all...

All writing, sketches and watercolor paintings (c) 2021 John Ruskey
Please share, but please give credit.

Special thanks to Jim & Sharon Bailey

Can you help us?
Do you know of any primary sources
describing -- or depicting -- the ancient bluffs?
Please reply to this email! Thank you!


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company, 22 years of high quality access to the wild wonder of the big river in human powered vessels. 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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