Photo Essay

Moods of the Presumpscot

Golden Treetops

Rivers evoke highly personal reactions. By this I mean that each of us sees, experiences, recalls and associates through our own individual lenses, making connections in our unique personal ways. To some, rivers may represent spiritual journey; to others, adventure and discovery. One person imagines calm, flowing silk and another envisions a wild, frothing tumult. Yet it is rare to find someone who is not emotionally moved by the beauty of a stream of water, whether quiet or turbulent.

Over the past 23 years I've had the good fortune to fall in love with a river. My first impression came when, walking in my new rural neighborhood, a rather large body of water materialized at the bottom of a hill. In reality, it was a pond formed by a river backed up behind a small hydroelectric dam. It took only a couple of days to purchase an inflatable kayak and paddle, and the love affair began.

A short three years later I was able to purchase a home with frontage on the river, and as I collected a husband, then a son and finally a daughter, the river became an additional family member. Like kinsfolk, there were stormy times, quiet times, uncertain times and happy times. Through life's gains and losses (yes, we've lost my father, my two aunts, my husband's uncle and aunt, two cats, two dogs and numerous goldfish in that time) the river is always there, a steady companion. The river has taught my ADHD son the value of patience, as he learned to love fishing and has memorized each snag and inlet that yields the largemouth bass he covets. It gave my son and me a forever bond, with many hours upon hours of paddling about in our canoe, fishing poles at the ready.

There have been worrisome times. October, 1996 brought a 500-year flood, and after 16" of rain in less than 48 hours, we thought perhaps the river would treat us uncharitably. How wrong we were. Yes, it rose to the highest levels we hope to ever see. The normally placid sapphire surface became a roiling, brown torrent that stopped short of the level of our walk-out basement. So, living with a river as a member of the family has its challenging moments, just as any relationship that is worth the emotional investment. And, we've even seen her naked, when they drew the river down to do repairs on the dam (we call it @$#!!!* maintenance). She's a whole different lady with her mudflats showing!

Several years ago, I began to document moments on the river. Some photos were taken with my original digital camera, which was low on total pixels, but got my interest aroused. Others are taken with my current non-SLR Canon, which will someday be replaced by something fancy. I've come to think of the photos as my "Moods of the Presumpscot" series of photos. I include only her most photogenic moments, thinking that I wouldn't want my most angry, difficult moments broadcast visually to the world. And like me, she's not pretty when she's upset. So I hope you enjoy seeing her at her best, her most pristine and most alluring. I hope you can see why it is so easy to have a love affair with a river.

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10 responses

  • Nicolette de Joncaire

    Nicolette de Joncaire   gave props (5 Sep 2010):

    Pity JPG does not allow favoring stories as a whole. Your river is enchanting even if you have hidden its ugly moments. Thank you for this beautiful essay

  • dp *

    dp * gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Heck yeah this is way RAD !!

  • Navrooz

    Navrooz gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Stunning pictures and a great write up. I agree with Nicolette. Wish I could favorite your story as a whole

  • Wendy Froese

    Wendy Froese gave props (8 Sep 2010):


  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (19 Sep 2010):

    dashing shots!!!

  • Merike Mäll

    Merike Mäll gave props (11 Apr 2011):


  • Michaela K.

    Michaela K. gave props (27 Nov 2012):

    great, my vote

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (27 Nov 2012):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (17 Jul 2013):

    My vote and nomination.....

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (9 Jul 2014):

    BTV my dear friend

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