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Goodnight, Platte River

March 4, 2010

I was on the Monument Valley Pathway beside the North Platte River at dusk yesterday. The daytime high of sixty degrees was settling into the chill twenties. The air carried odors of damp grass and wet earth. Ducks floating in slow current muttered bedtime pleasantries to each other, and Vs of geese calling overhead made their nightly trip somewhere just south.


How lovely.

The water flowing past me here came from snowmelt in the Park Range in Colorado and the Medicine Bow and Laramie Mountains in Wyoming, dry areas where residents do not readily relinquish their water, and continues through arid western Nebraska, where it was once a companion of travelers on the Oregon and Mormon Trails, and merges into the Platte River, which parallels I-80 for a hundred and fifty miles between North Platte and Grand Island and permits trees to grow that soothe the eye weary of endless plains, and joins with the Missouri River at the Iowa border, where the Lewis and Clark party stood in July 1804, and notches Kansas and then slices Missouri in half as it travels to meet the Mighty Mississippi at St. Louis, which conjures images of Mark Twain and steamboats, and surges southward, passing Illinois and Kentucky and Tennessee and Arkansas and Mississippi, before it rolls into Baton Rouge and empties into New Orleans, thick with the runoff of thousands of miles of farmland and city watersheds.

I like rivers. They tell a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. They connect us to our past and our future. I especially like rivers that remain somewhat untamed, unconstrained by concrete retaining walls and levees and dams, because you never know which way the story will go.

Copyright 2010 by Katie Bradshaw

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2010 12:32 pm

    You paint beautiful pictures with your words–

  2. April 14, 2010 7:47 am

    Beautiful picture. Thank you. Here is another picture of Platte country:

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink
      April 14, 2010 7:52 am

      Neat story behind that painting. Thanks for sharing!


  1. Monument Valley Pathway Guide « SCB Citizen

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