In the Slow Lane

John James Audubon

Ohio!  Off the river and into the woods, of the Northwest that is**.  My lane is pretty slow, but it goes a long way.



Paddle-boating the Ohio, cool!  Ashamed of whining about itinerary change.  But (I'm human, and kind of old.  Don't go wiith the flow so easily.  But, hey, still I'm flowing!  And I fell in love.  Not with the man who swam with piranas in the Amazon nor the aloof diplomat who had lived everywhere but the Amazon.   It wasn't the banjo player or the opera singer.  Keep reading.  


The Ohio trip was unlike rivers in my past.  Think days on the upper Arkansas in Colorado, grandkids and a whitewater swim.  Wyoming's Green River winding through bluffs blocking the sun; cold nights  under stars like jewels displayed on black velvet.  Utah's San Juan, Tony Hillerman Country, quiet and mysterious, ancient potshard- scattered shore, Shiprock and Mexican Hat.  And believe it or not the fabled River of No Return, the Salmon in Idaho, running north awhile, thrilling big water most of the way, feet never dry; isolated lodges with either electricity or running water, seldom both.  People of the Salmon live pioneer lives, fascinating folks.  The river is their highway.  These days I'd expect they have I-phones and such.


Now, the Ohio, a different story.  It's shores have been familiar to Americans for a couple hundred years longer than the western rivers.  Wide and smooth, scant whitewater removed by locks, the Ohio carries barges to the Mississippi and dumps more water in Ole Man River that he himself conains.  Some say the Big Muddy should really be called the Ohio.


Anyhow, a paddleboat trip and, where undeveloped, pristine shores, the way early explorers saw them.  Of the ports of call, my favorite, Henderson, KY, small town, would you believe maybe 80 miles from my home?



 And that is where I fell in love.  I am now sleeping with John James Audubon.  His journals that is, bedtime reading.  We all know his claim to fame, cataloging and painting birds of America.  Henderson was his happy home for a few years.  His children were born there.  Henderson was the place he returned to from never-ending exploration and research.  Henderson boasts a splendid Audubon Museum.


You'd swear Robin Williams posed for Audubon's life mask housed in the museum.  French by birth, American by choice, his journals flow with French wit and charm.  His work rejected in America required long years alone in Europe getting work printed and published.  The wolf permanentlly parked on his doorstep and that of his faithful, long-suffering wife.



Minnie Audubon was pretty amazing herself.  Does she mind my fascination with her man? Nah, she knows it's only platonic.


**My face is red!  Washington connection points out misspelling the famous man's name. Isn't that what sisters are for? 



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