Just a few miles south of here, the River skirts our county’s outermost edge. Weaving her way through a web of kudzu vineyards, ‘possum playpens and copperhead tanning beds, the Saluda takes on the color of the russet red clay that frame her banks and the septic green purée that seeps from her bowels.
Though this water moccasin freeway flows…seemingly, from a never ending source, she’s never quite able to purge herself from the desecration of man.
by Randy Cyr
l could show you a glen that once cradled a grove, nursing her saps upon the paps of the Earth.
Now into the River, she bleeds from her womb, as thistle and thorn is all that she births.
From the reach of a rise, I could point out a ravine that the River once filled, and a submerged garden a tender once tilled, before cresting an old outpost to explore the new land.
I could escort you to a pseudo-sentinel, keeping an elusive rival at bay; a churning caldron of consommé impersonating a lake.
We could slip into a secluded shantytown, in a nook by the crook of a creek.
Where slackers toke smokin’ flax under the cover of willows, and the cares of this life, like so many liquid dreams, drift away.
I could guide you to an ole cubbyhole, through a hollow in the hills, where mashmongers squeezed a living by the shine of a reeling moon.
Now there’s a hodgepodge of pick-ups girdling the loins of a gangling road,
and a posse of present-day hillbillies, using the grain to bag the ’bows.
But beyond the shimmering broil of the blacktop, and the smothering embrace of the kudzu, the River finds sanctuary within the pristine periphery of the Park.
For here the foothills bow to the majesty of the mountains, and the jangle of the urban jungle succumbs to the sedation of the serene. And the River enjoys a relative reprieve from the encroachment of man.
Waters once ridden, remnants of a throw-away society, suspended in the frothy brine; now reveal with sparkling clarity, the Creator’s etchings through the eons of time.
Waters once writhing, carving her course through the crumbling clay; now thunder through a chiseled chasm, taking no prisoners along the way.
Yet my heart longs for the headwaters, far-aloft, to an isolated place. Where peaks pierce the misty mantle, and clouds cloak their craggy face.
Waters tainted by the toil of man, are drawn towards heaven to Elohim’s still. And once refined, in the veil behind, are henceforth discharged, pure as the crucified will.
The highlands are nearest the heavens and first to receive the rain, as spring and spill, runnel and rill, converge amid the careening hills.
Yet even the purest of water is all too soon contaminated when allowed to run randomly over unyielding ground.
Unlike the champaign clay that soon gives way, the headwaters have well-defined boundaries that will never be annulled; the moss-enshrouded monoliths that bear the River’s flow.
And though some boulders loom as large as a house, larger still, is the part unseen, in the secret place, where, into the bedrock they are fitly framed.
While at a passing glance, it may appear, these stones direct the water’s flow.
But a closer study will show; the River has chosen her own way, removing what was unanchored, revealing what is to stay.
Through countless ages come and gone, these primitive rocks have insulated the River from siltation, and have faithfully channeled her refreshing waters to the parched basin below.
The soothing rhythmic, bubbling and burbling, gushing and gurgling, of cold clear water tumbling over timeworn boulders casts a mesmeric spell on all passersby.
While the strut of the strider, and the caper of the crayfish, fail to escape the attention of the patrolling brookie, who’s more than willing to accommodate them both.
These waters are forever uttering their discourse. Their words…have gone out into all the earth. Their language…understood by every tongue. And to those who would listen, they are able to impart and sustain life.
Water is our common bond and the indispensable fabric of life. Without it, life as we know it, would cease to exist.
The one thing that separates this veritable garden oasis, from the waste howling wilderness, is the plenteous provision of rain that graces these slopes.
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