3 Rivers / The Water Returns

Mississippi River- Day 28.

Today the three river of 2017’s expedition-the Mississippi, Minnesota, and Namekagon/St Croix- have connected. Officially merged now into one body, the water is moving closer and closer to the sea. The mixing of waters marks a coming together as each river carries its own history, stories, emotions, lessons…

Now, they interact, mix, blend, combine and yield to the arrival of something more complex.

The water is captivating and I am so grateful for it.

We started this June by thru-paddling the 237 miles making up the Namekagon/St. Croix Riverway, followed by 300 miles on the Minnesota River in July.

Now 480 miles into the Mississippi River, the waterways have joined and we as a community can be proud to say, Minnesota’s rivers are 6000 lbs of trash cleaner.

Water is life. The Mississippi River provides drinking water for 18 million humans, contains endless potential for diverse habitat, and carries a nurturing and powerful spirit.

Over the last couple weeks paddling the northern Minnesota stretches of this ol’ river, I have seen and thought of 3 of my brothers often.

Kai Gehardson, Evan McManus, and Chris Stanley don’t have the opportunity that I have had this season to live on the river banks. Cook by the campfire. Laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Fear for safety during a intense storm.

I miss them and am grateful for love, truth, and memory. I feel that things are connected and have no doubts that just because these humans aren’t smiling, canoeing, and playing soccer as we understand it to be- they are with us and are still here. It’s just different.

These words, poetry, love (pick your term) came during a sunlit morning paddle as the fog was lifting on a windy stretch.


The Water Returns-

Careful where you fish she said,

You might catch a curse.

For these dark eddy pools swirl

Deceit, illusion, false prophets.

Your banks will calve away if you don’t keep rooted.

Paddle into the light, she whispered

And Be Weary of the wispy webs,

spun to sedate your soul,

and soothe you into sleep.

See I was here when it all began she continued-

The ice, the floods, the rain.

I know every oxbough turn

and every backwater swamp drain.

All is one in my eye,

how many do you need to see?

Be careful where you fish dear one,

For these waters return home to me

-Brother Spectrum-


In truth there is freedom,

Thank you,



One thought on “3 Rivers / The Water Returns

  1. I am so grateful for your pictures and writings on this wonderful trip you have been on. Of course the thousands of pounds of junk people accidentally or purposely deposit into the waters, you have picked up. Thank you. Marlene


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