Saturday, January 09, 2010

Winter in Cairo

I wish I'd had the camera with me this morning.

At least once a week we take a ten mile drive across the bridge over the Ohio River to buy gas and kerosene in the pretty little town of Wickliffe, Kentucky. Wickliffe overlooks the Mississippi River about two miles south of its confluence with the Ohio. Cairo sits right at that confluence, which gives us a bird's eye view of the very cool phenomenon that occurs when the waters of the two rivers meet.

Generally what you see is a distinct line where the brown water of the Mississippi runs smack-dab into the blue-green water of the Ohio before they combine and head for New Orleans. That dark green patch of town hugging the shoreline of the Ohio is Cairo. Pretty view, huh?

It's so pretty, in fact, that whatever else we happen to be talking about, it's become part of our driving-to-Kentucky ritual for one or the other of us to spontaneously declare our love for this place every single time we get to about the middle of the bridge, at the spot where the view is maximized. Either it's the water or the barges or the foliage (or the goofballs who somehow managed to drive their camo-clad trucks out into the river before it rose and left them stranded on a little island), but every trip in every season has had something about it that's made us stop in mid-conversation to congratulate each other on having the excellent sense and good fortune to be living here.

Of all the seasons, winter in Southern Illinois is not generally the prettiest. We're too far south to get big drifty winter wonderlands of snow, so we mostly get dead trees (which have their own sort of stark beauty), but we did get some snow this week and the sub-zero temperatures have kept most of it on the ground. So imagine this scene covered in snow, and imagine the Mississippi River looking like a big white frozen slushie being poured into the clear blue Ohio River. Now imagine intrepid little pilot boats mightily pushing their strings of barges up river through the ice. That was our view this morning.

I think I'll try to get down to Fort Defiance tomorrow (that point of land poking out into the exact spot where the rivers meet in the photo) and climb the tower to get a picture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in seeing photos when you take them. Honestly, the area seems a tad desolate. But it's lovely you're pleased. And, after all, home is where the proverbial is.