Since I’m really into the latest technology, I decided it would be cool to go down the river sending “tweets” to my “followers” as I make my way. But I actually don’t have a Twitter account nor any actual followers (that I’m aware of), and besides, since I’m so into the latest technology, why would I want to risk dropping my cell phone in the river?
Instead I brought my own hi tech river gear: a pen, a note pad, and a Ziploc bag. And in the spirit of real time reporting, here are my 140 character tweets from the river, analog style. Note: since I time stamped each tweet, be sure and read this over three hours for full effect.
9:47 am: Fine summer’s day, setting out from SRFP on Sngamn Rvr @ Wildcat Slough.
5 minutes: Spotted first Great Blue Heron. Critter splashes into river from muddy bank ahead. Probably otter or beaver.
12 minutes: 1st of many fallen trees blocks rvr bank to bank w/no way round. Pull alongside, climb out, sit on tree, drag yak across, on my way.
19 minutes: Another tree blocks rvr ahead. Scare up 3 ducks hiding behind. Wood ducks? Can’t tell. Too elusive for me.
22 minutes: Sun rises w/midmorning temp. Cool, gentle breeze blows down river. No matter the temp, rvr always cool.
28 minutes: Constant chirping, singing and evn *yes* tweeting of birds along w/ low moaning song of crickets and cicadas.
29 minutes: Dragonfly lights on front of yak. Waterbugs dance on water. Evrdy miracles. Leaves in trees dancing w/breeze. Bgnning to wax poetic?
39 minutes: Carp fin ripples surface in shallows by sand bar. Ducks fly off over sand bar. Now 5 or 6. Wood ducks? Still can’t tell.
42 minutes: Turkey vulture circling me far overhead, never flapping. Anticipating my doom?
47 minutes: Crows cawing in trees on N. bank. Unseen owl flies off high branch, crosses rvr ahead, chased by crows. Trkey vlture flies after them all.
50 minutes: Skeletons of dead trees alng rvr here. Silence & stillness here engulf me. Loneliness and isolation. More turkey vltres gthr ovrhd.
52 minutes: Several more dragonflies light on yak. Painted bright and shining, blue and black. Hey, more poetry!
1:02: Stop on unchrtd desert island. Srch for previous cvlztions. Find evidence of “Keystone Man” and “Busch People”. Artifcts stowed in yak.
1:17: Huge slvr mpl nrly 2 ft. diam. snapped clnly off 20 ft. above grnd. Did it make a sound? Of course. Did fish, deer, raccoons hear it?
1:25: No trspssing sign ahead. I sing: “Sign, sign, evrywhre sign, blcking up scnry, brking mind, do this, don’t do that, can’t u read sign?”
1:26: prvs tweet mnt no disrespect 4 property owners. Being 1, I have utmost rspct 4 rvrfront property owner rts, as they respect Sngmn I’m sure.
1:31. Great Blue Heron flies across river behind me, just above the treetops, crying its wooden cry. 6 or 7 ducks fly off ahead.
1:47. Note pad falls into water. Soaked, but floats. Now drying in sun on frnt of yak. Decision to not bring cell phone now seems prescient.
1:51. Anthr silvr mpl strectches across rvr. Part of it is 5 ft above water so I easily glide under. Hundreds of wtrbugs on water’s surface.
1:57. Under canopy of greens varying in intensity of light & shadow. Greens glow thru trees like stnd glass window & reflect in ripples on rvr.
2:01: Small Grt Blu Heron rookery far above in tops of sycamore trees. Heron stands on fallen log as an owl flies off silently ahead.
2:07. Mther of all Sangamon log jams. Trees litter rvr strewn every which way. Rvr splts in two chnnls here. Hear sound of gntle water fall.
2:12. Portage arnd and down a 5 ft bank. Quite a climb. River twists, turns & more fallen logs, more portaging.
2:23. Half dzn black and yellow swallowtail butterflies huddle together on ground by fallen log, then fly up, encircle me & fly off.
2:44. Second channel of rvr joins back in & rvr returns to run deep & wide. Spider webs strung between dead branches ensnare white damselflies.
2:54. See Hazen Bridge up ahead & arrive at destination nearly three hours later. Long trip made longer by tweeting.
2:59. But what’s point of going downrvr in yak if goal is destination? Took me < 10 minutes to drv same distance. Take my time & enjoy the ride.
Appeared as Notes from the River by Scott Hays in the Mahomet Citizen, October 19, 2011