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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Owed to the Susquehanna

The Susquehanna is believed by many to be one of the most ancient rivers on Earth. It may have flowed some or most of its present course - especially the segments flowing to the southeast - more than 300 million years ago, which, if correct, would mean it is older than the Endless Mountains through which it meanders.

Let's assume, for a moment, that those geoscientists are correct, which I believe they are. And - for the purposes of making things simple ( for me ) - let's condense the entire existence of the Susquehanna River into a 24 hour day.

Okay…are we there yet?


Beginning our journey just past the stroke of midnight in our 24h Susquehanna timeline:

 - The Susquehanna began to flow its course on Pangea at 00h:00m:01s.

 - The present Atlantic Ocean began to form at about high noon.

 - The most recent mass extinction of dinosaurs took place at 18h:48m:00s

 - (Wo)Man first walked erect somewhere in Africa at about 23h:48m:00s.

 - The first known human inhabitants crossed the Bering Land bridge from Siberia at about 23h:59m:40s

 - The last Ice Age ended at about 23h:59m:55s

 - Standing Stone slid into place in the Susquehanna at 23h:59m:56s

 - Columbus "discovered" America at 23h:59m:59.85s, about 0.14 seconds before midnight.

All else that WE have done to this river; from clear-cutting the primeval pine and hemlock forests to ripping out the coal from beneath its hills and valleys, has happened in less than a blink of an eye in the accelerated 24 hour existence of the Susquehanna River.

Yet, Standing Stone still stands and the Susquehanna still flows; but its waters are far warmer, far dirtier and hosts an ecosystem that is a mere shadow of what the Iroquois called Gawanowananeh Gahunda; the Great Island River.

And today, this river faces what may prove to be its greatest threat: GREED - fueled by a corrupt industry, an even more corrupt and leaderless political system in need of a massive enema, and the inability and/or unwillingness of good men and women to rise up - together - and do what we know to be necessary to protect her.

Once again, that's rising up TOGETHER, and that ain't ( sorry, Dr. Kaska & Mom ) happening right now, folks...sorry to say.

Famous Indian painter George Catlin was born along the Susquehanna River in the Wyoming Valley. His mother was a survivor of the Battle of Wyoming in 1778. Here's his closing to Letter-No.36, written almost 180 years ago:

George, almost two centuries later...I hear ya'.

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