I read the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, in the first bedroom that I remember. It was small. I shared it with my sister. Already a teenager, she didn’t appreciate my still childlike enthusiasm. I suppose it took up too much space. But it WAS big. This love I had for words. This adventure it was taking me on. Books. Stories. It was just so magical. The books didn’t just show you the river, they took you for a ride. And oh, how I wanted the ride. I suppose I still do.
Seeing the Mississippi River, in Mississippi, Louisiana, it’s not the same as in Minnesota, where I grew up. Yes, the water, the banks, I guess they are not that different, but the stories it rolls along… The stories. If you pay attention, you can hear them. And if you really listen, with any luck, (more grace, I suppose) you can feel them. But that takes up space. And only an open heart and mind has room for that.
Our country is divided. You could say by race, or religion, or politics, but maybe it all comes down to understanding — learning —education — seeing the other side of the river.
Tom Sawyer said, “Right is right and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.” I want to do better. I know we have many rivers to cross. But my heart is open. My mind is open. Tell me your story. I’m listening. Let’s ride!