Alone at the rivers edge is a great place to be, The flow is new every moment but unchanged. Or is it?
At some point as Dugger, a local truck driver, explained a few minutes ago, the Army Corps of Engineers laid down huge slabs of concrete to block the river from cutting away the riverbank. Changing the very flow. Changing the status quo. Challenging. We were still in Missouri when one of the locals referred to the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression.” The mascot of local Obion County Central High School is the Rebels and the sign out front sports a Confederate flag. How many students have flowed through that school? How much has changed?
A great deal has changed here in Memphis. At dinner last night with Maureen and her wife Taylor they were clearly proud of the openness shown by Memphis to gays, blacks, and progressives. Both work to help folks at the margins and have full plates but they report progress.
Maybe it helps that the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel is here. The exhibits are extremely well done with lots of references to the many folks who challenged the status quo of racism and income inequality for centuries including Dr. King. Even met up with a new friend from Ferguson at the Museum.
Maybe it helps that Memphis plays well. A motorcycle show on the streets on aWednesday night? Blues around the clock? Fun is not foreign here.
The river reminds me that while the flow is inevitable it can be directed and managed when people work together. That is what Jessica and I are talking with folks about. Our tandem and these riders is but one barge carrying our thoughts – a few notions – in this unending stream. If we leave a few impressions, help people ask a few questions, we are doing good work. And, like Memphis, having fun.