River Rat

The Rock River flows over its bank today in Moline, IL 04-19-13. Marker on paper by Jacqueline Perry.

The Rock River flows over its bank today in Moline 04-19-13. Marker on paper by Jacqueline Perry

Returning from Iowa City today, I crossed a swollen Cedar River. The boundaries between field and stream had long disappeared. Once home, I went to take flood pictures of ‘The Rock’.  Between the Ben Franklin Store and the river I met a mom and some kids doing the same.  A TV cameraman in a winter jacket prepared to shoot video footage of a young newsperson with a row of homes surrounded by water in the background.

Then I spotted a man in a row boat paddling toward the parking lot–I recognized him. It was Buck, a member of my congregation and self-professed ‘river rat’. When it floods, Buck and Coralee know to move the furniture upstairs and get out their waders. He and his neighbors park their vehicles on dry land and use waders, or Buck’s row boat, to get to their cars. It works for them.

Since moving to Moline, I’ve met a number of ‘river rats’, people who have grown-up on the river or have chosen to make the water’s edge their home. Most days, there are great advantages including: recreation, wild-life, and amazing views. When the waters rise, they know the drill and adapt.

About tobeamazed

My name is Jacqueline Perry. I am an artist and a pastor serving a congregation in the Midwest. In addition to my usual duties I lead art workshops as a way to explore lives of faith. Before I was ordained, I received an M.F.A in Painting from Boston University. I have been an art teacher and exhibited work over the years. Living on the Great Plains has awakened my love for nature. I am amazed by nature, art and people.
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6 Responses to River Rat

  1. Lynn says:

    This is an awesome sketch!

  2. jane tims says:

    Hi. I like your drawing … lots of movement in the water. I have heard about your flooding in the news. People who live near the water get used to all sorts of troubles, but they continue to love to live there. We live near the Saint John River and flooding is our life. Jane

  3. jane tims says:

    Hi. We don’t live in a flood zone, so we experience it from afar, but often roads are closed or covered with water, and familiar places look quite different. We had a flooded basement one year and that was very challenging. The good side of this is that the flooding creates the rich soil along the river and habitat for all sorts of wild life. Jane

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