You can get most of the way without going on the roads which is nice and some parts of the river and just spectacular. It is still a powerful river at points which has supported a lot of industry and many mills in its day. It felt good to be on the land as it is, as opposed to what we have put on it.
We passed through a number of points that held memories for me including Wilderness Island near Mill Lane, Beddington Park where we met Tom and Stacy. The park itself borders my old school. That river we were cycling on was the very same river I fell into on a regular basis after the hurricane in 1987. We used to walk from one side of the river to the other across fallen logs with varying degrees of success. How well I remember the smell of pond water emanating from my socks (if that is not too pleasant a concept to reflect upon).
Following the river was interesting in that I knew various points along its length quite well, but did not previously know the whole picture. It was fascinating to cycle through ancient looking riverside woods to pop up next to a road a have got the bus down a thousand times. Gradually an overall sense of its course, above and beyond its sections I have known formed in my imagination.
One way or another that river has wound itself through many times and seasons of my life and riding along it today reminded me of a lot of that. The more I think about it, the more it blows me away. Everything we need for life is in the river and its beautiful: the river is a journey; the river is a story; the river is wealth; the river is the economy; the river is the painting; the river, it doesn't stop.
"[Jesus] ...the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14 RSV)