Looking out access the mighty Kanawha River as it spills over the stones has become a favored activity for me. Even in the gray condition of late Fall and Early Winter I like to mentally lose myself standing beneath the willows and allowing the sound of the falls to wash away the mental clutter that builds up throughout the day. The stones look like an ancient stairway from a forgotten civilization that passed into the river long ago. In an age when the river was young and much smaller. I can almost hear the echoes of people on the stairs as they go about their daily lives of trading fish and freshwater oysters from the river for herbs and seeds that were brought down from the mountains. A young boy carries a bundle of sticks that have been grown and prepared for making a friction fire. His sister is trading a stack of hand woven baskets made from the ancestors of the very willows that now shelter me. There is laughter as old friends recount stories of their youth and lessons learned the hard way. In some ways life in those days was hard but they had time and space for each other. And that was what made it so worth the living.
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