A River Runs By It

At the edge of the property where we live (for just a few more short weeks) is a river. One of the fairly major rivers in the region actually.

This is a salmon river and the local village was built around the salmon fishing industry more than a century ago. And because the river has been protected over the years, the salmon still come. And so do the fisherman.

They will start to flock here in the coming months (some of them maybe even staying in this very chalet) and will pay exhorbitant amounts for the privilege of catch and release fishing from this river. I can't wrap my brain around that one but I am very thankful for this piece of beauty in my life. A river that I can see from where I sit typing this right now.

I took this photo an hour ago, you'll notice our trees aren't green yet

And I'm thankful for the river's edge where my children play in the warm sand. Where they are old enough to spend hours unattended building fairy villages and outposts. 

The river flooded significantly this spring. It always does we're told. The waters have receded now but they've left a wake of river detritus in the woods around the chalet. The wrack line is as high as low tree branches.

(Before y'all freak out at me for letting my children play by a swollen river I remind you they are 9, 11 & 13. They listen and obey the rules. Yes, obey. We use that old fashioned word around here. And I can see them from the house, when I decide to look. But mostly I prefer not to look and leave them to their free-range play.)

It's been lovely living so close to the water, but still out of the floodplain. Our next rental will have a river also. One a bit further from the house with pebble sandbars where we can sit in the sun and wade out into the cold, mountain fed water. We're told the river is clean enough to drink from. We won't be doing that but we will be enjoying the water. Grateful for this natural beauty and "playground" in our lives. 

my favorite river view
the evening sunset behind the foothills on the other side of the river

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  • kyndale

    kyndale on May 12, 2012, 12:18 a.m.

    I wouldn't let my kids run around the neighborhood here but I would for sure let them hang out by the river where you live. What a wonderful place. When I was a kid we lived near a creek and that was the best fun. I hope you have a wonderful mother's day Renee! xo


    • renee

      renee on May 12, 2012, 1:13 a.m.

      I know Kyndale, this free range of the woods & fields is totally new to us. I've never let them out of the yard by themselves before. Here, they can go as far as they like. They like to stay within sight of the house anyway. It's a whole new experience for us and I love it. Finally being able to give my kids this freedom. 


  • Theresa

    Theresa on May 12, 2012, 7:12 p.m.

    Hi Renee: I've been following your blog for months now - I love you're writing and I feel like I know you in person. Yet, you know nothing about me!

    I'm a young mother of three children, planning on homeschooling. My oldest is 5 in September, and I already have a relaxed philosphy when it comes to schooling in the early years. He is beginning to read with really no effort on my part other than reading and teaching the sounds of the letters. It's great to see him grow.

    This post came at the right time for me. I currently live and grew up in rural Iowa. I remember around the age of 8 spending all day at our creek a 1/2 mile down the hill, roaming the fields and riding our bikes 3 miles to town and back. Such freedom. No cell phones - no helmets - just our bikes. (I must say we should have had helmets).

    I always wondered if this was appropriate or what other parents thought. As long as the environment is safe, it's great for kids to have the freedom. That is if they "obey" the rules- I love the use of the "old" term. We are instilling this in our young children.

    My two oldest were just in an accident a few days ago, though. I say this came at the right time because I hope I don't become a crazy mother worried about safety constantly now.

    The kids are fine. They are always supposed to ask to go outside - they did, to get Grandma flowers. They brought them in and went back out. I was chatting with my mom for not even 5 minutes. I looked out back to make sure they weren't going down to the pond - (which is prohibited without an adult at this age) They weren't. I say to my mom, "Let's talk outside." --they were gone! 5 minutes - rural Iowa -- long drive.

    I look down the hill - theyre coming up - crying. Then I see my Grandpa's car crashed into my Uncle's truck at the bottom. Kristofer (5) got 5 stiches on his head, Kathryne (3)was without a scratch. Pure miracle.

    How did this happen? Kathryne got into the 5-speed car, Kristofer followed. Clutch got pushed at the exact same time as it was put into gear. Emergency break was never up. They rolled backwards 1/8 mile down the hill.

    Imagine the guilt I'm feeling. New rule to obey - never get in a vehicle without an adult. Wow - I still can't believe it happened. I needed to write about this and I'm sorry it got so long, but thanks for listening.

    But freedom, children need it. I hope I remember that when they are older and I can put this incident behind me.



    • renee

      renee on May 12, 2012, 10:07 p.m.

      Theresa, I'm so sorry this happened to you. I'm actually a very protective mother. Until we moved where we live now I haven't let my children out of my sight really. I think we all have different points of free range comfort, mine are actually quite conservative but feeling comfortable and making safe decisions in the natural world is a life skill we want our children to learn. So we try to give them as much freedom as we feel comfortable doing, keeping in mind their maturity and skill level. You know bad things happen to good people, even when we do everything "all right". This is something I've had to learn and something Damien has to remind me of often. I feel if I just have eyes in the back of my head, teach my children obedience and how to think nothing bad will happen to them. That's simply not true. I do hope you can release that mommy guilt from yourself hon. Things happen. A little story to maybe make you feel better. When Brienne was just a baby, under one year old, she almost choked on a quarter. She stopped breathing and I was on the phone with 911 while Damien was whacking her on the back. It came out and the paramedics never came. Now, here's the really bad part. She was sitting on my lap, playing with money. And I knew she loved putting things into her mouth! What was I thinking? I wasn't. I was actually working on my computer, keeping her happy by playing with shiny coins. When I think of what could have happened from my carelessness I get sick to my stomach. And then there was the time that 9 year old Celine slept walk (in her sleep!) out the house, in our urban Maine home. We slept through her ringing the doorbell, and her crying out our names. Our neighbors (God bless them) heard her through their mainfloor bedroom window, came and got her and phoned us. I woke up to the phone ringing to find out Celine was at our neighbors, beside herself with fright! Oh my goodness Theresa, I felt so terrible. Once again, sick to my stomach feelings just thinking about what could have happened if some creepy person had happened to walk by. I can't think about it. All that to say, these things happen hon. And we're not terrible mothers. Bad things, even mild ones (our children are all still healthy and alive) happen to thoughtful, loving parents. My friend lost two of her daughters to a house fire last year. Talk about the worst heartbreak ever. Just wanted to encourage you that it's ok. And thanks for reading and sharing.


  • Theresa

    Theresa on May 13, 2012, 2:20 a.m.

    Thanks, Renee. Your words were helpful as always. I am very thankful to still have my children. I will keep your friend in my prayers. Life is quite the journey.



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