August 4, 2015

We Have Rivers - a poem by Mitch Story

The 10th Annual Missouri American Water MR340 was July 28-31, from Kansas City, KS, to St. Charles, MO. This was the largest ever, with over 600 paddlers in 400 boats. It's such a mixture of challenge, inspiration and courage...all with the backdrop of the beautiful Missouri River. Missouri River Relief is proud to be part of the safety boat crew for the race since 2007.

Mitch Story, who ran ground crew with Kory Breuer for his brother, paddler Matthew Story, posted this wonderful poem on the MR340 Facebook Page and gave us permission to repost it here.

Enjoy -

Dedicated to all the wonderful MR340 racers, Scott Mansker and all the other organizers, volunteers and safety boat volunteers and to my people - the great ground crews running up and down the roads and the river banks with me and Kory Breuer and to Matthew Story, our paddler, especially:

We Have Rivers

Following them down
we need to be there ahead
when they come in
or if they decide to go on by
we wait with whatever they need
even if it's only a wave and a shout.

Compared to the toughness of their struggle
they can be so fragile
it must be why they are out there
to find the sinew of their soul
and test it against the blade of the day
or night.

Some are without support
out there on their own
with their thoughts
despite the others who are out there too
but who of us isn't in a way out there
on our own?

Sparkling as it lies in its bed
so soft and brown
from eons of wear the highest
peaks of rock rendered into oozing softness
so difficult to fathom what
transformation this water will bring.

Baking heat like the top of a rust brown anvil
freshening breezes promising rain and cool
rank shallows reeking of decay and waste
silvery fish splash in long trails of moonshine
high birds and green bands of feathery trees
voices in the dark from between faint lights.

Coming into Dover in the heat of the day
or across Dalton Bottoms in the night
or a no place you've ever been before
hoping to find a spot of bank ahead of them
because they can never go back
you find you are looking for "our people."

If you find a place with "our people"
you can know you'll have help if you need it
kindness we may look for but can't always
find is here as was said at the celebration
out here in the race - on and between
these banks is the real true world.

Some start and finish and some do not finish
we're all trying - that's enough to learn the
lesson of our pursuit
there are gifts in this world that flow from grit
and mud and salty tears
muscles and hearts aching with pain and joy.

Some have mountains. We have rivers.

Mitch Story

For tons of info and links on the Missouri American Water MR340, click here. 

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