‘Tis the season for giving. Below is part of Robert Hass’s introduction to The Gift of Rivers— True Stores of Life on the Water, 2000, edited by Pamela Michael of the International Rivers Network. Mr. Haas is a former Poet Laureate of the United States.
“Rivers… have a beginning, a middle, and an end. In between, they flow. Or would flow, if we let them. It’s interesting to consider the fact that, in popular culture, what’s happened to rivers has happened to stories. A dam is a commercial interruption in a river. A commercial is a dam impeding the flow of a story: it passes the human imagination through the turbine of a sales pitch to generate consumer lust.”
A free-flowing river keeps on giving, year after year. Unless pro-dam politicians and commercial interests are allowed to get their way.