Here is my first attempt at a lyrical essay (assignment for one of my classes):
My home town is nestled on the outskirts of the Tri-Cities, located right where the Snake runs into the Columbia. I used to think this was cool. In 8th grade they made a point to teach us this. Teachers made it seem really cool and important. In many ways it is. The Columbia is a vast river and important piece in the history of the Northwest. The Snake is 1078 miles long. And we sit at its end. I was always astonished at this thought. I still am. Whenever we drove over the bridge into town, I could see clearly where these two rivers joined. It is something much greater than us. Yet so simple. And something that can easily be overlooked as important.
I remember when I was little how much I loved looking out the window at the Columbia. Nothing blocked our view of it, save for the fields of sagebrush on the other side of the road that grow downhill, over the railroad tracks, and push up against the swamps, surrounded by cattails and a variety of trees. Because my house faces the west, I often enjoy watching the sunset. Even now, when I go home, I look forward to this. The beauty of nature. The calmness of a family watching the river, year after year.
In many ways, aren’t we (people) just like rivers? Throughout our lives we flow, we learn, we give ourselves to other people. We are used for fun, transportation, food. We also intertwine. New rivers and tributaries spring from us through our relationships and networks with others. We can form lakes. A place where recreation happens and people typically come together as families. And at some point, we join forces. We flow into another river, adding our water to it. And carrying on in that manner until we eventually flow into the ocean. When we combine forces, we become a part of something bigger. Something better.
I’d like to pause for a moment on lakes. Several great memories from my childhood happened at a lake. When I was little, my family would go camping with grandparents. There is a portion of the Blue Mountains in South Eastern Washington referred to as the Tucannon. The Tucannon River flows through this valley. It empties into several lakes, both man made and natural. I loved our family camping trips. My grandpa used to let me tend the fire, which I thought was awesome because I was around eight at the time. Each day we were there, we would fish in the morning and the evening. It was a great experience and I learned a lot from them. Not only about fishing, but also about life. These are memories that I will never forget.
The river, as you can see, is still important to me. Anyone who looks at my phone will see several images I have taken from the end of my driveway of the sunset. Sometimes it disappears quickly; in a split second, even taking two pictures in a row, the sun can go from being over halfway visible to just a glow emitting from the top of the hills on the horizon. To me, there is nothing better to look at. It’s home. This summer I went fishing with my cousin on his boat. Although I had been on the Snake before, and even other parts of the Columbia, this was the first time I had been on the portion of the Columbia directly in front of my house. It was a surreal moment. It was as if I was the river looking at a vast amount of land that ran along my edges. I could see my house, the trees in our front yard, the town’s water tower. And that’s when I realized how small we all are. Rivers are not the largest bodies of water. Their width and depth can vary. Where they end can vary. Just like we can. But the world around them is so vast, so large. We, as people, have the capabilities to do whatever we want.