Originally published on Chaco Blog.
We name them after colors: Red, Vermilion, Colorado. Green and White and Black. Bluestone and Yellowstone. We name them after weather: Hurricane, Wind. After size: Little, Rio Grande. After animals: Wolf, Bear, Salmon, Eagle. We call them by their currents: Roaring, Rapid, Rogue. Clearwater, Crescent, Crooked. Sandy, Salt, Sweetwater.
We call them veins, capillaries, arteries. We call them highways, ribbons, lifelines.
Some cultures call them Mother.
Depending on where you live, you might say brook or creek or run. You might say arroyo or stream or wash.
We all say River. They connect us. They run through us.
Our bodies are roughly 60 percent water. Newborn babies are 78 percent. Is it any wonder we are drawn to rivers, is it any wonder we want to return to them again and again?
What do you love about rivers?
Is it the escape into river time when you step into your sandals or grip the oars? Is it the intoxicating smell of sage and red rock in the hot sun? Is it the exhilaration of the rapids or floating in quiet water just gazing up at the sky? Do you love the canyon wrens and kingfishers and ravens smart enough to open your dry bag clips? Is it the red vine maples on the Elwha, the mountain laurel on the Youghiogheny, or maybe feasting from the old cherry tree on the Salmon? Is it rope swings or fly rods or super soakers or skipping stones?
Which river has your heart? Is it a wild one like the Selway? A desert river like the Yampa, or a lush river like the Sol Duc or Congaree? Maybe it’s a river right out your back door like the Charles, the Potomac, the Willamette?
We have a million reasons to love rivers and we know you do, too. This Earth Day, write a love letter to your river. Because sharing the love is one of the best ways to make sure it will keep running and flowing and loving you back.