I am so thrilled to be living close to such a beautiful river in my new home in Asheville. Ledges Park is north of the city and in an area where there are 1.2 billion year old rocks. This section of the river features white water rafting and also appeals to fisherman. To enhance my appreciation and knowledge of my surroundings, I have enrolled in the Blue Ridge Naturalist Certificate program through the North Carolina Arboretum. Geology and ecology were the first courses I signed up for. A subsequent post will have close-up photos of some of the rocks in the ridges near here. Though I am sure this river has its fair share of troubles, and I hope to connect with the local Waterkeeper soon, for now I appreciated its majesty and stood in awe of its ability to have created the Asheville and Hendersonville Basins as its wove back and forth, creating and widening a floodplain that produces some of the most fertile cropland in the country.
The River is wide at Bent Creek park and the banks are not as steep and rocky. It is a very popular area to kayak and you can put in here to paddle through Biltmore Park. The mist was rising offering a magical invitation to this stretch of river. You can also see evidence of how the river undercuts the banks, causing trees to tumble into the river.
When I saw the yellow leaves arcing towards the mist, the full crown of this magnificent tree obscuring all else from view, I felt a private and intimate moment of connection with this river, a force of nature responsible for all the geological features present in this area. The undercutting of the bank has been so extreme that the tree is growing horizontally out over the river before it rises to the light. I wonder how much longer it will survive growing this way, and when it will become another casualty like the other trunks and branches deposited along the riverbanks. Yet, it was indeed glorious at this moment. So much like life. We never know what will happen next to sabotage our security, but we can choose fear or we can choose to live full on and celebrate every last moment.
The Davidson River feeds into the French Broad River. Its waters are so clear because its source is in pristine wilderness. Unlike the French Broad, its banks are not wide but steep and narrow. It carves down through the rocks, undercutting a bank on one side and depositing rocks at the next bend, alternating like this through much of its course. You can see riffles on one side and pebbles on the other, and fallen trees. I used to prefer natural scenes devoid of dead trees and broken limbs, but I have come to realize that is unnatural. Death is never as final or as devoid of life as it seems. Fallen trees become inoculation logs for mushrooms and other fungi that grow and connect living things beneath the surface of the earth. They can add beauty and depth to a composition as well, their bare branches creating leading lines and otherwise punctuating a static scene to create tension and drama. So often we are programed to see in certain ways, but if we open our eyes to what is we can be taught to see differently.
At the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education there is a short trail leading to the Davidson River. Some of the trees were beginning to turn. The pristine waters of this river attract fly fishermen around the country. The PIsgah Center for Wildlife Education offers free introductory fly fishing courses. Perhaps I will have to take this up next spring. The people I see fly fishing always look so at peace with their surroundings. It teaches patience I suppose, and the good spots are always in the most unspoiled areas.