When my soul is weary and I feel disconnected from every beautiful thing around me, I go to the Bear River.
In a quiet spot just below the bridge, I plunge my feet in its cold water, and watch. Near me, a family teaches their children to float safely on wobbly inner tubes. They all bubble with excitement. Up river, teenagers coax their hesitant dog onto large boulders in the middle of the ankle-deep flow. (It made it.) On shore, a solitary young man tries out his new fishing gear.
Then the patterns of nature catch my eye. I watch the bend of water as it flows around a submerged rock. A gentle liquid curve, bending for a moment, then gathering again as it courses endlessly downstream. I sit, watching a deer cross neck-deep to the other side, then follow with my eyes and heart the flight of vultures over the ridge. I sit, tracing upward with my eyes the towering pines.
Here in this rare place, we are surrounded by beauty not created by man. It touches something in me, and I realize that, once again, I feel collected, gathered, and whole. And I find I am able to love again.
Downstream, Lincoln awaits us, hoping to build 20,000 new homes — with their accompanying strip malls, asphalt roads, and concrete schools — by damming this portion of the Bear River. We will lose the last six miles of publicly accessible, free-flowing river of the Bear. We cannot dam this river without damning ourselves, for we cannot find ourselves in yet another Wal-Mart parking lot.
If you want to know more, go to the river, or visit this website: savebearriver.com. You may find out what is worth saving.
Lucy Clark, Auburn