Florence Dacey's 
Minnesota River Notebook
This is Florence's final Rivers of Life: Mississippi Adventure assignment. 

Use your creativity to it's fullest!

 

It isn't hard for us to think of the river as if it were a human being. We write songs about it: "Old Man River" and "Moon River.....you heart-breaker." Like a friend or relation, the river can be a pleasure or "a pain," charming, messy, helpful, mysterious, common, dirty. The river has its own language. This spring it spoke in BIG words and a very loud voice. We had to answer with some of our own kind of strength. By August the river and its many tributaries will probably be humming. The water will invite us to sit and gather into ourselves the softness of ripples and the warmth of the sun's fire, to store for the winter to come. 

Like an old person, the river has some kind of wisdom that comes just because it is old. The Minnesota River has survived all our diversions and pollution (popcans, tires, suds, oil tank, plastic bags, carpet--a few things I saw in the river as the flood waters went down). What would the river say to people? I often go there to listen. I imagine it might say: 

I am the Minnesota River, winding through towns and fields. I have seen people scrambling, trucks hurrying. I flow fast, I saunter slow. I know what I need. I carry the yelp of the girl who has caught her first fish, and the gaze of a poet, the farmer's pride, the child's laugh. I carry silt and sediment, contaminants that harm. I take all you give me, season after season. I have no choice. Will you stop and think? Will you raise your voice, to protect me?

Exercise #3 

You have been learning and thinking and feeling your way into the history and meaning of the Minnesota River over the past weeks. Could you speak now, through your imagination, in the voice of the river ( or a lake, swamp, creek)? What does our river see, hear, need, wish for, dream? What does it know that we should know? Write your poem or prose piece speaking in its voice. Is that voice angry, sad, afraid, proud, joyful? The river needs YOUR voice to speak in the human way. If we care, we need to speak for the river.

Check out the other articles from Florence
Assignment #1 - Assignment #2 - Poetry

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284
Phone: 651-523-2480 Fax: 651-523-2987
© 2001 CGEE. All Rights Reserved.