Here is a poem I wrote about the river several years ago, remembering the way it used to be when it was still a pristine wilderness before the pulp mill got it. The poem represents what I got out of spending the first half of my life on that river. The poem is a river pill like liver pill - you swallow it and get a concentrated dose of what it's like to be a south Georgia swamp-raised, river-rat transcendentalist.
Flow me now, deep river, to a paradise I know,
Long, cool, summer water, take me easy and slow.
Never swift and shallow, rushing sudden downstream,
Just sleepy and drifting, like this place in my dream.
Where dawn's dreamy light, sweet cool sunbeams make,
Yellow, gold, brilliant white, in green pine tree brake.
Tiny sparrows, finches flitter, they circle away, fly.
Quails rustle dry brush, black crows callous cry.
Bristly boars root and snort in palmetto bush near.
Look! Into the river leap three white-tail deer.
Armadillos scurry by, squirrels scamper up trees.
Possums, rabbits, raccoons, spanish moss, and oak leaves.
Bright and bold sings the sun its fiery orange tune.
When day sunshines hot, hawks soar at high noon.
Woodpeckers tap rat-a-tat on distant hollow trees,
Bluejays and redbirds chase dragonflies and bees.
On far slippery shores of this light and dark river,
Snakes nap sunning and then away slither.
Willow tree branches are dripping green snakes.
They wriggle then drop on an otter's furry face.
Scorpions, spiders, snakes, here deserve our forgiving.
They're honest and brave, just trying to make a living.
Mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers have over us some power,
Yet measure their lives by the minute and the hour.
Early evening 'bout dusk in fishes graveyards,
Lay crunchy white bones of dead alligator gars.
Swollen river rolls by, water gargles and gurgles.
Bobble half-swallowed logs toting green turtles.
Down under the water, buttery catfish play.
Blue cats swirling sand in the bottom channels stay.
River up, redbreast swims into an old cypress knee.
River down, fish is trapped in the stump of a tree.
Who Who! Night owl calls, sweet honeysuckle dreams,
Blackberry bush thickets and far away panther screams.
Two yellow moons, they both ripple and shimmer,
Firefly night sky lights a black river mirror.
Lie back on cool grass, see that shooting star above?
Love gave us all these, we were born just to love.
We're made of inside of what we do in life first,
And our birth foretells our death foretells our birth.
Claire Grace Watson, M.S.T., Shield Guide