When you grow up on a river, like I did on the Yellowstone, it always runs through you somehow.
Even if you’re away from it, it courses through your heart as essentially as it courses through the farmland for which it is a lifeblood.
I took these pictures of the Yellowstone River from the Myers Bridge between Hysham and Custer in the four different seasons. In this one, my 5-year-old wonders why those silly geese are swimming in the icy water. Certainly there’s a warmer place for them to hang out?
In this spring photo, I appreciate the raucousness of the swallows that nest under the bridge and were very much disturbed by a nonchalant photographer. Note the muddiness of the spring water and the debris it carries to the Missouri.
In this summer photo, the river is very low — you can tell by how far that distant old bridge support is sticking out of the water. Doesn’t it make you wonder how folks back in the days of mule power managed to do things like build bridges? They were a different kind of smart compared to us.
And in this fall photo, which is probably my least favorite of the four, the Indian summer sun reflects on the water as tufts of cottonwood cotton drift under the bridge.
Someday I may try to get a better fall photo from the bridge, one that shows the fall colors better. Though I live 40 miles north now, the Yellowstone is still the closest river, and I’ll be back to visit. It’s reassuring to know she’ll always be there, receiving our runoff, connecting us to what’s west of us and east of us, and centering creatures living both to the north and to the south on her lifeblood… a miracle, really, streaming through the heart of dry country.