If there is to be paddling involved, then yes, I will take a small, slow moving river with trees hanging over both sides, with sun streaming through the branches and the leaves turning the world a tropical green. Those kind of rivers are for paddling and drifting the morning away. They are for alligators and manatees, for fishing and watching the turtles tumble off the fallen trees that hang out over the water, for dragonflies alighting on the bow.
I have little interest in the wide and mighty kind of river, though. Oh, they are interesting enough to see from time to time but I am of the opinion that the wider a river is, the less personality it has to share. Yes, they are all well and good for barges and tugboats but what do the massive rivers offer the wanderer, the explorer? Very little, I believe.
Yes, if paddling is involved, then I will take a river.
But if there are no kayaks or paddles to be seen, then I will take a little creek for watching and listening to. The tumbling antics of the bubbles and leaves as they slide from rock to rock and stick to stick. Striking out on their own at times but mostly gathering in little pockets of foam where the current is blocked from pushing them down the stream. Creeks are also for listening, playing their own brand of music. Music that can draw you in, the tempo might be fast but the melody is still relaxing.
If relaxing is not what you crave then creeks can also provide an endless source of exploration and if you are lucky, there will be plenty of rocks and logs to dance along on. Oh, a creek is completely different if you can travel along it from within instead of from beside, allowing you to be part of the blood within the vein, so to speak. To stand on a rock in the middle of the stream and watch the leaves float by and the fish drift by, that is a worthy way to spend a morning and if there be a rock big enough to sit upon, well that is twice as nice, now isn’t it?
Creek or river, the water calls to some of us like a home we are forced to abandon on a regular basis. Maybe not where we were born but someplace almost as familiar and inviting. I’ve always wondered if the fact that we are made mostly of water has anything to do with that. In any case, I believe a bit of the river rat lives in quite a number of us if we will but spend a morning and give the idea some time to develop.