Sunday, September 26, 2010
World Rivers Day -- The Somass River
When I was a child, some of my first and happiest memories were of my father teaching me to swim in the Somass River in Port Alberni. I loved the river, the smell of the river and the way the branches of the trees dangled in the water like lazy fingers. My father first taught me to dog paddle, and then to do what was called the Australian Crawl. But my favorite thing was just to drift on an inner tube and listen to the sound of the water.
Our favourite spot on the river was a place called River Road Park, where my father and I used to go on Sunday afternoons in the summer. My mother would pack a picnic lunch of lettuce and tomato sandwiches, potato and egg salad, and fruit, and my father and I would get orange crush and ice cream from the store across the road from the park. After we ate our lunch we would sit on the grass on the banks of the river, and spend long, lazy afternoons discussing all the deep, philosophical things a four year-old can discuss only with her father -- like, why do men have whiskers and ladies don't...
I particularly love rivers, and there is a rivers' conservationist here in British Columbia, Mark Angelo, who started BC Rivers Day in 1980 as a way to bring awareness to the fragility of rivers. The event has grown, and now the last Sunday of every September is World Rivers Day, which has been endorsed by the United Nations.
Established in 2005, World Rivers Day is part of the United Nations Water For Life Decade and the the International Network on Water, Environment, and Health.
These are all pictures of the beautiful Somass River in Port Alberni. When I go home to Port Alberni, the first place I go is to the river. For me, it's a living thing, an entity that is an important part of my life. Each river has its own spirit. Rivers and lakes are what nourish us and keep us alive. We owe it to them to keep them alive as well, not just on World Rivers Day, but every day.