Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Last 2010 Cleanup, and TV

WBOY-TV came out with us last night (end of October) for a cleanup - the last one for this year. Mike Krafcik, reporter, and I had been trying to hook up for months, but it never worked out. But yesterday evening he was available and so was my West Bank Crew, the Farley Family, and we did a special harbor area cleanup just for Mike.

I was a little worried that we wouldn't find any litter; after all, we've been cleaning this area since April. That was dumb though. We found two pretty bad spots (where some people were fishing and drinking on the east bank and where a homeless person had broken camp on the west bank) plus some tires right at Ruby Park.My thanks to Mike and WBOY for covering this.

So, here they are, being videoed by Mike. I'll post here when Mike's piece is going to run.

It was a little sad, having our final trip. The Farley's have been so great. What a fine crew, and they have also signed up to help with refitting the Monongahela Monitor this winter. She needs a new deck. So I'll see them again. But I guess we all will miss our wonderful outings on the river. Sure, we were in the mud and up to our knees in the water pulling out barrels and cans and other litter. And those tires filled with mud! But that made it all the better. Not just a boat trip on the river, but a boat trip for the river. Prepositions are so interesting.

Thanks to everyone who has helped so much and those who supported the Mon River Revival.

Monday, October 25, 2010

First Mon River Information Kiosk

I'm very happy to post that we have installed the first Mon River Information Kiosk in the Morgantown area. With funding from GenPower (the Longview Power Plant) and support from others, this weekend we dug into the ground where Decker's creek enters the Mon and sunk 12foot 6" X 6" posts four feet into the ground to support the kiosk (Thanks, Rich Farley!). Fortunately the ground was free of roots and rocks! (Click once, twice, to see larger photos).

The purpose of this kiosk (two more are planned) is to point citizens toward a nearby litter barrel (which you can see in one of the wide photos). It's that simple. But it goes beyond that. Each kiosk will be "sponsored" by a youth group. The first is sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church Sunday school group. This brings to the kids a couple messages about the environment and their roles. And the kids will also help in litter cleanups. (In the photo are, from left Charlie Huguenard, Tim Terman and Joe Douglass. Charlie and Joe are from Longview. In the top photo is Chris Wilson, who helped me build and install the kiosk)

On the kiosk is a map of the Upper Mon Water Trail, which I had a part in establishing back in 2002), a rather lengthy history of the river, a photo of the youth group holding a banner saying "Help Keep Our River Clean, Use the Litter Barrel," a photo of a dead albatross, and credits to the Mon River Revival, Longview and the City of Morgantown.

Dead albatross?,you may ask. Sure. We pick up lots of bottle caps and plastic cigarette lighters, items that float to the ocean and are swallowed by these grand birds (who are on the endangered list) which kills them. The point is that being against the litter isn't just about a blemish on the river (although that's important).

Here's a photo of the First Presbyterian Church Sunday school kids and their leaders. Ruth Donaldson is the person who contacted me to get them involved. My plan is to have these all up the river! Gotta work on that this winter.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Turn Back, O Man

When I attended a prep school during my junior and senior years of high school, the headmaster's favorite hymn was by Clifford Bax: Turn Back Oh Man.
Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.
old now is earth, and none may count her days.
yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame,
still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim,
"Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways."

Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.
age after age their tragic empires rise,
built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep:
would man but wake from out his haunted sleep,
earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.

Earth shall be fair, and all her people one:
nor till that hour shall God's whole will be done.
Now, even now, once more from earth to sky,
peals forth in joy man's old undaunted cry:
"Earth shall be fair and all her folk be one!"

I really liked that hymn. I was reminded of it today when I was looking in the library for works dealing with sacred rivers. I found a book called "Earth Might be Fair." It's rather heavy reading about religion and environmental issues edited by Ian G. Barbour - published in 1972!

Here's another; this one from William Wordsworth:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Monday, October 11, 2010

An eagle and an osprey

Yesterday evening I was preparing for a kayak tour and an eagle flew by my pontoon boat over the river, down pretty low so that I knew it was an eagle. I've heard other people speak of seeing eagles around here, but despite all the time I've spent out on the river, until yesterday I'd never seen one.

And there's an osprey at the Morgantown Lock. It hangs out on the 3rd light pole on the outside wall. Every time I see this bird, that's where it is.

After my tour, the sun had set and I stood on the forward deck relaxing after the paddle, watching the colors in the sky, the reflections in the river, losing my mind in its ancient movement toward the sea; wanting to drown in timelessness and sunset and the movement of liquid and eternal waters.

It occurred to me that this might have been my last tour this year. Perhaps my last forever. I don't know about next year. On Sunday night's tour, one gentleman was celebrating his 60th birthday, and we sang Happy Birthday to him just down from where the water flows through the dam. I recalled that the first tour I did, late April and earlier than I'm accustomed to, was occasion for a ceremony too. I had a group of Naval Reserve men and women, and one of them was sworn to re-enlistment right there, just below the dam, in a sunset ceremony.

I should go out on the river again. There's something magical there. It's a good place for ceremonies. That's what the eagle and osprey tell me....