Tributary: Becoming Green Warriors of the Red Earth Country

I’m reblogging this older environmental essay of mine for a number of reasons. There are many ongoing struggles to protect the waters of my state and nation right now. And, some newer followers who are environmentally minded have not seen this because I first posted it in 2013. Sorry, fellow cat enthusiasts, there are no cats in this. But they were always nearby when it was composed. Cats will return here soon!

Catwoods Porch Party

This essay was published in the online literary journal Steel Toe Review in August, 2012; in the Birmingham Free Press in August, 2012; and on the Friends of Hurricane Creek website in August, 2012. An earlier version placed among the top ten in the 1990 Sierra Magazine writing contest, but because only the top three were published, the only acknowledgement was to myself only. (Story begins after photos)

From autumn 2018, “Spectral Waters”:

9431spectralwater

Picture from early spring, before the snakes.

IMG_0725

Summer air here can be felt, almost fingered, it’s so succulent with moisture. At high temperatures, it’s chokingly humid, but in more moderate weather, it’s velvet and invasive against the skin. In Alabama at the southernmost end of the Appalachians, everyone wades the water/ air mix many evenings during the warm seasons. This state has an abundance of water resources; some popular forms of water contact are boating, fishing, water…

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About Catwoods

I'm a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
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23 Responses to Tributary: Becoming Green Warriors of the Red Earth Country

  1. Great post, Leah. Water is essential for all beings ❤ Pawkisses for a Happy Caturday and one Extra for Franklin🐾😽💞

  2. Candace says:

    Beautifully written essay, Leah, so descriptive of the beautiful place you live. I’d live to hang out along the shore and photograph the birds and other wildlife. I feel very worried about all of the environment and really feel, even though I know it’s very negative, that we were losing the battle and so much can never be recovered. So many people really just don’t care.

  3. Charlee: “That’s a great and unfortunately still timely essay. Clean water is so important.”
    Chaplin: “We’re lucky that our water is in bowls and it’s always clean.”
    Charlee: “You know the water in our bowls has to come from somewhere, though, don’t you, Chaplin?”
    Chaplin: “Of course. It comes from Mama and Dada.”

  4. Lavinia Ross says:

    Beautiful writing, Leah!

  5. greenpete58 says:

    No wonder you were a Sierra Club finalist. You have a rare talent for description: “Reddish and charcoal colored, the rocks underpin the froth, water at its most frivolous, scattering light into glitter.” Your vivid writing supplements your beautiful photos perfectly.

    Of course, I totally relate to your message. I used to splash in those creeks, catching crayfish and frogs and swinging on Virginia creeper vines nourished by those waters. It seems to always take a crisis, like an oil spill or a rash of local cancers, to jolt people into action. Keep fighting the good fight!

    • Catwoods says:

      Pete, thank you so much for your kind words. So many of us have significant histories on creeks. For now, our closest creek is ok. But there’s been a major toxic spill on a fork of a large river in my state. Huge fish kill. From a rendering plant, gag.

  6. niasunset says:

    Very important post, and you did great dear Leah, water is our life… Thank you, Love, nia

  7. DS Levy says:

    Leah! This essay is pure poetry! The descriptions of place are so very lush (like the place itself) that I felt as though I were right there beside you as you took me on a tour. Really, Leah, this is such wonderful writing! I can see why it placed in the Sierra contest; what I can’t understand is why it didn’t win! I do hope you’re still doing this environmental work in words — I think you should be sending your essays out, and then collecting them. Lovely, lovely! Deb

    • Catwoods says:

      Deb, thank you, you always bring a real lift to my day! This version is revamped from the 1990 one, which was rejected by some magazine I can’t remember for being “diffuse and wandering”, lol. So I put in some scaffolding. There’s a lot going on and I hope to write you an email soon. Thanks again and all best wishes to you, family, and critters!

      • DS Levy says:

        Well, I like a meandering essay, but scaffolding is nice too, LOL (My essays always meander!) 🙂 Yes, please email when you can — looking forward to hearing about what you’re doing! Hugs to you and your family, and that handsome dude, Franklin!

  8. Cate says:

    A beautifully evocative piece of writing, Leah.

  9. Timothy Price says:

    Spectral Waters is beautiful. People don’t take water serious enough.

    • Catwoods says:

      Tim, thank you, I’m happy you like that particular picture, it was fun to do. And you are so right, we need to take a serious look at the health of our waterways.

  10. Lauren says:

    This post is an important reminder that a water supply is NOT optional! Thank you, Leah!

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