First there is the sound of metal on metal. The spork’s titanium scratches across the steel bowl. An arm raises and soup is transferred from bowl to mouth. Yum. Warm and spicy. Then the inescapable crunches that come with dinner on the Lower Mississippi. Sand in your soup. Your teeth. Your clothes. Your hair. Your tent. Your eyes. And when the wind blows, sand in the air. Huge abrasive clouds that blow around the river’s sinuous bends. The sand is stripped from underneath willow trees and continuously reorganized into new bars and dunes.
The same winds that blow so much sand have paused us on this island just below where Arkansas’s White River enters the Mississippi.The week since Memphis has been a mix of windy days and clear cold nights so a warm day with no paddling is appreciated.
Two nights ago we camped on the downstream tip of an island. Arriving to see a yellow moon rise opposite the sunset. While our fire burned down we watched barges scan the shore with their spotlights. In the island’s back waters beavers and herons used the moon lite evening for their own devices. In the cold morning that followed I watched the sunrise opposite the setting moon. I took my time with my morning tasks and lingered over a second cup of coffee finding it hard to leave that point, stuck between the sun and moon, surrounded by the river.