River Scene by Andy Funderbunk
written by Gabriele Osterburg Azhar
Out of the dense undergrowth a trickle emerges at Jack’s Gap
in the majestic Blue Ridge mountains of north Georgia,
gaining power and dimension in its aspect as it makes its way
for over 400 miles to mingle with the waters of the Gulf of Mexico,
its tributaries bearing names like Aneewakee, Bear, and Tuggle.
It wends its way through Georgia, Alabama, and Florida
forming part of the borders of these states
nourishing people and crops along the way
powering machines for textiles as our young country grew and prospered.
Providing succor to indigenous peoples as far back as 1,000 years,
in places, its wild, pristine shoreline
evoking images of Indian braves casting off in a canoe
red bodies gleaming in the sun, feathered headbands stirring in the breeze.
Chattahoochee—Thundering water tumbling from its falls
its perilous eddies claiming more than one unsuspecting soul
Chattahoochee – “Rocks-marked,” “painted rocks”
denoting the colorful granite outcroppings along its banks
Chattahoochee – “Hooch” – a popular Georgia nickname
Immortalized in song by Alan Jackson and Ludicras
Home to me for over 60 years,
its waters powered Muscogee Mills where I held my first job.
Now a parking garage to accommodate high-tech industry
has replaced the long-gone cotton mill.
Today, hopeful fishermen still line the banks on summer mornings.
White water rafters shout their delight above the roar of churning water.
Young families stroll its Riverwalk, competing with rollerbladers and cyclists
for 15 miles and more.
But Sidney Lanier said it much better than I ever could.
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