On the River

Driving the backroads around the Fraser River. The river shaped this place and made it what it is, breaking it down and rearranging it.

Masses of cut logs bob in the water, along with abandoned wooden tug boats letting nature take its course to break them down. Small houses cling to the narrow space between the road and the bank. Huge poplar trees grow wild over masses of blackberry brambles.

Every so often there’s a break where the bank is right at the roadside and in low tide you can see the silty “beaches” where a friend and I used to get taken sometimes to play on hot summer days. This time I saw only a swan preening itself on one. Maybe people are too neurotic about the river’s currents or contents, or maybe no one’s creative enough to know about and utilize these hidden spots, converging instead on familiar spots like Garry Point or all the sandy beaches in Vancouver.

There are little pull-offs where teenagers make out, and some evidence of possible campsites like tarps emerging from the brambles. One of the pull-offs on the north arm of the river is still vaguely recalled as the spot where a burnt out car with a body was found, at least 15 years ago I figure.

Railroad tracks. Marshes. Pilings emerge from the water with docks in various states of repair. In the spring there’s a plethora of neon yellow spikes from the skunkweed.

The brambles are constantly trying to overtake the buildings, a reminder that the reality is that humankind only thinks it rules the planet and nature is posed to fill in the void.