1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Time and the River

Herman King - November 4, 2012

Know how some songs will kick-start your memory, evoking a long forgotten incident? I was recalling in my mind the beautiful song sung by Nat King Cole. (you'll guess it was from the past since what they call pop music today is total, putrescent garbage. "Time and the River." I recalled the many times I leaned over the old bridge in Alderson and looked down at the Greenbrier. Some of the calluses on my old feet come from traversing and re-traversing the Alderson Bridge (the old one of course). I would get nervous at sight of the kids sitting on the edge. (Al Gore has nothing on me in empathy).

The Greenbrier is a tributary of the misnamed New River. The "New" River is actually the third oldest river on the planet. Only the Meuse in Europe that flows into the North Sea and the Yangtze in China are older. It's millions of years older than the Nile, the river on which gazed Nefertiti, perhaps the most beautiful woman who ever lived. I once wrote a poem to Nefertiti but have since forgotten the words.

So that would make the Greenbrier one of the oldest tributaries. It's not easy to determine a river's age, it depends on the rocks at its source. The Greenbrier is lovely when peaceful, but has had its tantrums at times. My step-uncle Boatwright McClung dove into a raging Greenbrier to save a man from drowning, The man lived but Boatwright died from pneumonia, so my step-uncle was a hero.

Today some are called heroes for throwing a ball through a hoop or carrying one across a white line. The word has been corrupted like so many things in today's America. I'll go back to my nostalgia. I recall the basso-profundo of bullfrogs along the Greenbrier. Are they still there? Batrachian life appears to be diminishing on this sick planet. I never heard a bullfrog in Hampton Roads. Guess it's not their habitat. Lately, I've heard no spring peepers either, those first harbingers of spring, Hope they're not on their way to extinction. But everything is eventually. "Time and the river, how swiftly they flow by.." rivers return to the sea and when it comes time to leave this old planet, we too return to our source.

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