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.