Editor's note: Several years ago TI Life published a little poem by Richard Withington that started, "Hush! the River is Sleeping." Yes, the season was over, now in 2019 he has given us a new little bit of hope. After a harsh winter and a spring that never seemed to end, we are delighted to share this one.
Hark! The River awakens.
Like an old man reluctantly relinquishing the peace and warmth
of a thick coverlet after a winter's nap,
The River gently stretches, yawn, shakes, and quivers as she
surrenders her icy mantle to the gentle stirrings of rising sunlight
and warm breezes.
She creaks and groans as she rises to the challenges of a new
day, a new season, and a new summer.
With a twinge of hesitation, she welcomes the arrival of the
world's commerce riding on her rested back.
The thick ice blanket breaks the winter's silence with
cracking, rumbling, and groaning, - a barely agreeable participant in
the new dance of spring.
Soon the "basso profundo" thunder of the ice bergs is joined by
a chorus of high-pitched tinklings as tiny "berger bits" collide and
sparkle with sunlight in each tinkle.
Add to the the chorus the voices of the neighbor-birds;
chickadees, robins, and red-winged blackbirds. Next come the love
songs of the loons, geese, ducks, and swans.
Almost suddenly, the gray-brown drab of last year's foliage is
replaced by buds on trees, pussy-willows in the marsh, and the tiny
heads of crocusses, daffodils, and snow lilies, all wondering, "Is it
time? Are we ready?"
Finally, Nature can wait no longer; spring is declared
officially here. The arrival is welcomed by the annual concert of the
"Spring Peepers" coming from the wetlands. Even the occasional bass
voice of the resident bull frog can be heard lending enthusiastic
depth to the welcome.
Approval was re-enforced by two owls who came to "give a hoot".
Clearly, the annual invasion of color, noise, and activity has
begun. The River is ready for the frenetic rushings of recreation and
Consider, - what would we do if the River were not here? The
flowers, trees birds, fish and people would not long survive.
Let us be thankful for the gifts of the River and respectful
of her needs.
In that spirit, - Happy River Summer!
By Richard L. Withington, MD, Round Island, June 2019
Dr. Richard (Dick) L. Withington is a retired Orthopedic Surgeon and is best known on the River for his rescue work, with his boat “Stormy.” Each winter Dr. W. writes articles that provide his special view of the Thousand Islands – and we thank him for this.
His first article for TI Life, A Winter Islander, was published in January 2009. To see all of his island experiences, search TI Life under Richard L. Withington. Also be sure to see The Doctor is in, February 2012, written by Kim Lunman, writer and publisher of Island Life, a print magazine.
However, you don’t have to wait a year for more excitement… you can almost sit beside him as he jumps into his boat, “Stormy,” and heads out to one of dozens of accidents – and learn first-hand how important our life saving partners, the Clayton and Gananoque Fire Departments, the Coast Guard and the Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service (TIERS) are to our Thousand Islands. How can you do that? Dick Withington is the author of a simple spiral-bound book: “First Responder” published in 2016.
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