As a child growing up on Front River Road on Neville Island, I used to watch the boats in the Ohio River. I only had to pass through my front door and walk across the lawn before I would arrive near the banks of the Ohio. There I would ponder the river and and wonder who was in the boat, where they were going and where they had been and why.
Barges would pass by the island carrying I knew not what. My lack of knowledge made it easy to invent tales of daring and adventure.
The water of the Ohio moved. And much moved with it: floating branches, fish, waterfowl, ice in spring, and commerce. Recreational boats used the water. It carried pollution visible and invisible.
The river had power to transport and destructive power as well. It flooded. It claimed life, not often, but it did happen.
Living in Louisville as an adult brought me back to the Ohio. While I did not spend the time on its banks as I did when a child, I experienced comfort and joy knowing the river flowed near my home.
I have returned to Neville Island a couple of times. While much has changed both in reality and from my childhood memories, the Ohio River with its power, grace, and mystery remains.14 August 2011