Sunday, September 7, 2008

Confluence Park

We are living on the land between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, just before they join. Each river is about the same distance, maybe 5 miles, away. It seems that we are drawn to the place where the 2 rivers meet – a place called Confluence Park.

In 1721, French explorer, Father Pierre Francois de Charlevoix, wrote of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, "I believe this is the finest confluence in the world. The two rivers are much the same breadth, each about half a league: but the Missouri is by for the most rapid, and seems to enter the Mississippi like a conqueror, through which it carries its white waters to the opposite shore without mixing them, afterwards, it gives its color to the Mississippi which it never loses again but carries quite down to the sea ..."
This is flat land, wet land. Many bays and islands, and usually quite a few people fishing. It is also a sanctuary for migrating birds. Birds from as far away as northern Alaska use the Mississippi River as a navigational route to warmer lands.

I can’t wait to see this area later in the autumn. But already things are starting to look different around here. The sky for one thing. And it is cooler. Will it really get cold here??!! I’ve lived in Florida so long I tend to doubt that this season change thing is really going to happen.

So far, every time we have attempted to drive to the actual place where the Missouri meets the Mississippi, the road has been closed due to flooding. Today, though, we were able to drive as far as the locks. We hiked the “2 pecan nature trail” through tall grasses. It is a magical place.


Barbara said...

I can see by your attire that it has turned a little cooler. It is more summery these days than it was during the height of the summer months in Montreal. However, the leaves are beginning to turn and evenings are cooler. I look forward to that glorious season. While the weather is nowhere as severe as up here, there are changes of season in Missouri.
There is a scenic region in Quebec referred to as the Charlevoix, so the name has beautiful resonance for me. I wonder if it is named for same voyaging priest.
Your writing encourages me to explore my own region.

beth said...

It seems that there are a lot of stories about those French missionary priests around here - I'm running into them all the time. Many come from Canada. Before the Louisiana Purchase (early 1800's) this area was French, and occupied by French Trappers. There is a section of St. Charles that is called "French Town".

I used to think that the longer we were here, the further away we would start exploring. But it seems that I am becoming more interested in the land just around me, and finding that once I start looking, there is more and more to see and know.

And with the change of weather and lighting, everything starts looking different. Interesting.