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Monday, September 19, 2011

River bottom and what it means to The Magic Commuter

My little Trey-Boo-Shays:

      I've taken hundreds of photos since starting my Magic Commute to Richmond in December 2009. Many were shot along Highway 210, which runs through the fertile river bottom on the north side of the Missouri River.

     The shot above was taken in rural Clay County, less than a half-mile before 210 begins the long climb through the Nebo Hill area that connects the edge of Liberty with Missouri City. The fog was heavy that morning and the sun was rising, a nice combination that produced an orange hue and some reflection off the railroad tracks.

     The river bottom is devoted almost exclusively to crops, almost exclusively corn, soybeans and hay, no wonder since the dirt is so fertile and the land so flat.

     I shot the power lines the same morning in the flatland that extends from the other edge of the hilly area at Missouri City and continues all the way to Orrick, the next community on 210. You can still see some fog at the back end of the photo, but the sun had begun to burn off much of what was present on the other side of the hill.

     The river bottom has offered many beautiful moments, some of which I've been able to photograph. There are times when I just take it all in, leaving the camera on the seat next to me.

     But flatland has also inspired some music, including a song I performed at a small folk festival Saturday at Watkins Mill, a state historic area. The lyrics are my way of saying thanks for the beauty and power the commute has provided me. I've been exposed to many new things on the way to and from Richmond, both on 210 and my other main route, the more inland, rolling-hill area along Highway 10. 

     I don't have the song recorded yet, but that my not matter since the meaning is so personal. It wasn't written long after I started the commute, but the flatland beauty in its infinite variety hasn't waned. If anything, it continues to grow.

River Bottom Rhapsody         2009

Flat as a pancake
Far as the eye can see
Ground so rich
You could grow money trees
Every time I see it
It opens these eyes of mine
Every time I feel it
It helps this city boy unwind
Got me singin' that
River bottom rhapsody

Could be an ocean
Stretchin' from shore to shore
Could be a prairie
Startin' right at your door
Could be a desert
This little pleasure of mine
An angel from heaven
Gave it to me at Christmas time
Got me singin' that
River bottom rhapsody
       Leave all the traffic behind
       Climb that hill a mile at a time
       Look to my left
       Look to my right
       Stretches on forever
       ‘cause it’s paradise
       Got me singin' that
       River bottom rhapsody
      Got me singin'
      That river bottom rhapsody

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