“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
I have had some people ask me what it is that attracts me so much to Big River so for this blog I thought I would share why this river has mesmerized me with its beauty and mystique I cherish so much.
Big River begins near the summit of Johnson Mountain near the ghost town of Enough. It flows through the Missouri counties of Washington, Saint Francois and Jefferson then it empties into the Meramec River near Eureka, MO. It flows through Washington State Park, St. Francois State Park and through the Lead Belt mining district. It meanders 145 miles through the Missouri countryside. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, longear sunfish, bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish and red horse suckers are some of the fish that can be found in the Big River.
“Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the river words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” – Norman Maclean A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
I seem to always be drawn to big the Lead Belt area of the Big River. The 108 years of mining in that area took a toll on the Big River in the form of contamination by lead. There is a contamination warning on certain kinds of fish caught in the Big River. There are pipes that go into the old mines that are still in the river. I am not sure what they were used for. I was told that they were old test holes, used to pump water out of the mines and numerous other things but do not know for a fact what exactly they were used for.
I spend a lot of time camped out at night in this area. It seems to hold so much mystery within the banks of the river. Sometimes there seems to be a presence with me as I go about my night of running limb lines and sitting by the camp fire. Not an evil presence but like another presence in another dimension. Sometimes when I am running limb lines and the fog is lifting it looks like spirits rising from the mines out of the water on their way to somewhere else. Some nights it even makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Oddly enough it is a pleasant feeling. At times I have even thought that maybe they are wanting to share their secrets with me. Maybe it is the past inhabitants of the ghost town Enough wanting to converse with me. The mystery stirs my soul deep inside hoping that one day they will share those secrets with me. One night while I was sitting by the fire I smelled cigarette smoke like someone was sitting right next to me smoking a cigarette. Am I crazy? Maybe, maybe not.
A couple other things that attract me to the Big River is the beautiful scenery and last but not least the fishing. My photos will never do the beauty of the river justice. The tall bluffs and rock formations and the lined banks of beautiful trees make the Big River a great place to float and enjoy life. If the river could talk I wonder what it would say. Would it tell me about the people that came before me, tell me about how it was before they started mining. Oh the things it could share with me.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog. I hope you find it interesting. Maybe some night you will get to camp along the banks of the Big River and you can tell me if I am crazy or not. Be kind to one another, spread the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.