A River’s Story

Water. In drought, we pray for it.
In floods, we fear it.
And when the soul needs refreshing – we seek it.

The ocean – in its vastness – offers perspective about our small place and insignificant worries in the scheme of life.

A river is about discovery; something new lies around every bend.

“A river does not just happen; it has a beginning and an end. Its story is written in rich earth, in ice, and in water-carved stone, and its story as the lifeblood of the land is filled with colour, music and thunder.” ~ Andy Russell, The Life of a River

Like life, a river is full of surprises; things you can’t see until you come upon them. From a vignette  –

to the tiniest detail.

“Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things? Throw a stone into the stream, and the circles that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence. “— (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature)

We took the dogs and loaded up the car for a long weekend at Russian River – not far from Bodega Bay in California.

A tiny cottage with a gigantic lawn on the river’s edge.

The 110 mile river flows through nine counties, joined by others on its route to the Pacific Ocean. Originally known among the Southern Pomo as Ashokawna  “east water place” or “water to the east”, and as Bidapte, “big river,” it takes its current name from Russian Ivan Kuskov who explored the river in the early 19th century. Russian people from Sitka, Alaska settled in the coastal area founding Fort Ross in 1811 and erected buildings at Bodega Bay. The river and its surrounding towns have managed to survive floods, fires, the 1906 earthquake, and other disasters – leaving small but devoted communities, and carrying many stories.

By William Keith – An Autumnal Sunset on the Russian River Evening Glow by William Keith, 1878 – Butler Institute of American Art

Last year, this river was but a trickle after five years of drought. With the winter rains, it flooded the town of Guerneville. In May, it still runs fast and deep; too fast to send the doggies in – but they had more than enough adventures.

A mystic morning.

A hike through an old redwood grove.

An afternoon at the beach.

A nap on the grass.

Perspective restored.

“There’s a river somewhere that flows through the lives of everyone.” ~ Roberta Flack

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

26 thoughts on “A River’s Story”

  1. Good to see the post with the beautiful pictures. Looks like you had a wonderful time. I love the picture of Chris with your dog. Looking forward to seeing more get-away weekends from you.

  2. Seeing the pictures and reading the text of your post gave me a tranquil feeling. Good way to start off a day. Thank you!

  3. Hi Ogee – I thought that the following very appropriate to your Post but, if you choose not to approve it due to length or whatever, that is fine! I shall still Follow you!

    The River (Copyright Colin Chappell)

    Starts out a little child;
    Playing with the stones;
    Running through the countryside;
    Passing trees and nearby homes;

    Inviting friends to join;
    The river swells in size;
    Rushes onward in its game of tag,
    With birds and dragonflies.

    Wider now it gets
    And slower does it flow.
    It carefully follows contours
    Singing as it goes.

    But no longer do the stones play,
    For the river now is deep,
    As it heads towards some mountains,
    Its destiny it must meet.

    It’s older now and wiser,
    But the drop it did not see.
    The many rocks so far below,
    And the waters wild and free.

    Cascading down the mountain,
    Hitting rocks and broken trees.
    It must have thought so many times,
    “Can I survive all this?”

    “This is harder than I imagined.
    I never believed this to be so.
    My life is tearing me apart.
    Which way must my waters flow?”

    “I am divided in my thoughts.
    Confused by the turmoil found.
    Is this what life is all about?
    Where does peace abound?”

    Then suddenly all was quiet.
    Its waters slowed right down.
    The river was, once more, a river.
    Of the turmoil, there was no sound.

    The river came to realize
    That… while confusion briefly reigned,
    It was just a minor set-back
    In its journey as ordained.

    Ordained by a higher power,
    To help the river grow.
    To understand adversity,
    And a love of life to show.

    The river caressed the fields,
    And trees lived on its sides.
    Fish were in its waters
    And on it, many insects thrived.

    A love of life was to be displayed
    Wherever it may go.
    To teach the world just what it means
    To be alive… to learn… and to grow.

    The river’s purpose, once unknown,
    Now was clearly seen.
    To serve; to cherish; to love;
    Its mission to simply be.

    And as it moved towards the sea,
    Its journey almost done,
    It reflected on its wanderings
    And a revelation was born.

    Its journey had been a lesson,
    Of not to be afraid
    Of all of life’s challenges,
    That’s simply how character is made.

    It helps us in our growth,
    And to appreciate who we are.
    To help those less fortunate.
    And to show compassion near and far.

    That river’s life is now complete.
    Absorbed by an endless sea.
    That river’s life I knew so well.
    That river perhaps…
    …was me?

    1. It’s deceptive…there is nothing to the lower level except a dog washing spot. But it was more than what we needed and delightful!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into your life outside of rescue. As always, stunning photos with wonderful quotes and a narrative as soothing as the green grass and the cool water. You also unwittingly evoked some of my own fond yet distant memories of my three summers in Santa Rosa. We spent a day at the Russian River, floating on inner tubes, and taking dips in the cold water to cool off on a hot August day. I’m glad you got away together to such a peaceful place. I hope you’ve returned feeling refreshed.

  5. What a lovely journey you have invited us to share – love all the photos but especially the B&W one of the pups with the light on their backs – a transcendent image for a thoughtful and beautiful post.

  6. What a lovely post! So peaceful and relaxing. Like “Composerinthegarden” said, the B&W photo of the dogs was wonderful, and my fave – just perfect! Thank you for sharing your trip with us!

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