Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 23. Patrick Lawrence....written in persprective of VOR a a single, confused entity! Dear Reader, Today I put in at Red River Access Area. I paddled at a wonderful pace and because of this, I was able to enjoy the wildlife and majestic vistas.

I worked very hard; it seemes our pace was as slow as a doped up snail; it was way too easy. Traveling down the stream, which was finally flowing, I noticed less trash than I had seen on other parts of the river; the banks were dirty as before; I didn't notice the trash. I passed a pulp mill on the right side of the river, and it's brown smelly addition to the water was crystal clear. At Landsford Canal State Park I fought the shoals. I navigated, lead, followed, laughed, cursed and when it was all over, I shed some tears.On the spit of land I stopped at, piles of trash were the natives which I made my friends by giving them a new home in garbage bags. I ate and was full; I was still hungry; summer sausage again? I went to bed. I am looking forward to, dreading, hoping to make it through tomorrow!

Love, VOR

I wrote as one voice for a reason. Trashing filled coved on the banks of the river, bottles floating downstream, silt filling in the man-made lakes, and various other destructive processes will continue on until there is nothing left to pollute. The more we travel and address our concerns to the knowledgeable people we have met, the consistent resigned answer is, "do what you can." All who care about the Catawba agree' until awareness is raised about how problems in the river are caused, the injustices against this beautiful resource will continue to occur. The fact of the matter is, some of the most beautiful water we have seen was paddled today. Shoals cradling beds of exotic spider lillies and osprey abound, but where man decided to impact nature the trash, erotion and murky water overcome the pristine beauty. It is very difficult to get a large group of people to work together with my contradiction filled letter above serving as an example of that. Even in that tiny piece, the many opinions, feelings and statements of VOR cannot even combine into a cooperative, cohesive essay. While entirely possible, motivating and mobilizing everyone to protect the river will be much more difficult.

A fun update! Boats can scrape a lot of sharp rocks with aplomb. I caught a 3 inch Bluegill with my bare hands...which Jay used for bait. Robert, Jay and I saw an 8 inch bullfrog...enough said.

We are all at different states of being, but one thing is for sure, we are a group...VOR 2009, and we will support each other to Charleston and beyond.


  1. Oh Patrick! I'm so glad you made new friends even if they were a little "trashy" ;)

    The statement "do what YOU can" holds true in all situations. You can't make others feel as you feel, or understand why you feel that way, but YOU can lead by example and hope that one day the desire to help will become contagious and infect a plethora of people......just like a virus could infect bodies of the dead which would then make them the undead, and then they would desire human flesh and bite living humans making them the walking dead, and finally this epidemic would spread across all of the world making everyone zombies! so uummmmmm.......i hope the desire to save these captivating rivers catches on like a zombie virus :)

    hehe miss you<3

  2. Dear Patrick: Thank you for all that you and your fellow VOR adventurers are doing to educate all of us as you wind your way downstream. It seems the contemplated lessons are being learned and that perhaps some that were not contemplated originally, but that are both subtle and important, are also being learned. It is all for the good. Remember, "the care of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart."
    I hope you have a terrific Memorial Day float today. Love, Dad. P.S. The Red Wings are up 3-1 over the Black Hawks in the Western Conference finals :)

  3. Dear Patrick: I loved reading about your adventures and will share with the family at dinner. We saw your parents and Katie yesterday at Gull Lake. Anders and Niklas went swimming. Crazy boys--I think they might be 1/2 polar bear? We send you our love and great big hugs. Sarah

  4. Chico,
    Thank you for your entry. You are such a good writer! I can tell this experience is having a big impact on all of you. I am so glad we are all able to share in your journey. I hope your travels and writing inspire us all to be a little bit more concious of the world around us. Keep living and enjoying every last second.
    Much Love,