Ecology of a date night

(Actually written April 27, 2017


The Etowah is a 164 mile long river that flows from just outside Dahlonega to Rome. It happens to pass through Cartersville, near where we live, but we went some time without knowing about its existence; Bryan stumbled upon it about a year ago when he was driving aimlessly, trying to get Rory to sleep.  

Where we sat on the shore this day, the river runs so calmly and shallow, one could easily walk across it, which I was tempted to do in order to reach a collection of bronze colored boulders rising from the water, where fifty or so little birds were perching between water dives, feeding on tiny insects or fish or fresh water mussels—I can only guess.  I tried to take a picture, but I'd hurried out the door with only my 50mm lens, and, separated by the width of the river, maybe 200 yards, wasn't able to get anything good.  


We sat, instead, on the bank, examining the discarded shells of tiny river creatures and watching a man and boy downstream wade into the water with their fishing poles. Earlier in the day, or maybe it was the day before, I'd made Bryan promise to learn to fly fish with me.  I've wanted to learn ever since I saw A River Runs Through It years ago.  

6 months pregnant with Leo

6 months pregnant with Leo

The idea of a river date originated at about 5pm when, in the shower, the brilliant idea of dropping the baby at my mom's occurred to me.  Originally, we had planned to take him with us, which would have resulted in an entirely different experience.  Living close to family is everything, which is why we've never left northern Georgia, a place which I'm becoming more and more inclined to learn about, ecologically speaking.  

The Etowah River is rich in both ecology and history.  It gets its name from the Muskogee language and is well known for its aquatic biodiversity. As the Atlanta suburbs continue to spread this way, there's been an effort to conserve the river's wildlife, though a couple of (91 different) fish species have already disappeared.  I always wonder who the people are that keep an eye on these things, make it their jobs to know the populations of seemingly indistinguishable fish beneath dark waters.  I was probably sitting in accounting class while they were knee deep in river mud.


Anyway, back to date night.  It goes without saying that we mainly talked about Rory.  It happens every time we go out alone.  Mostly we talked about his new attitude, tantrums and adorable language.  We talked about how the river would not be so relaxing with him there and about how we wanted him to grow up in nature. It was perhaps just 20 minutes that we were there (until Bryan became exasperated by my photo snapping) but a good break, nonetheless.  Another reminder (as if I needed one) to work hard towards moving to the country...or the mountains, just somewhere we can look at something beautiful every day.  

 Edited to add:

This essay, written in 2017, marked the beginning of my relationship with the Etowah, which I’ve since fallen in love with. Both of my sons have splashed in it. Rory cast his first line into it. This year I hope to learn to fly fish and kayak down the river with Bryan.

 Also on the list is to learn more about the ecology of the river and its history. Both the Muskogee speaking Creek tribes and Cherokee tribes lived along it at some point

WritingMolly NevinsComment