The River Holds My Soul --- Myrlene Marsa

Tennessee River heading towards Mullin's Cove from downriver

Tennessee River heading towards Mullin's Cove from downriver

Williams' Island in the Fog

Williams' Island in the Fog

I had occasion today to drive Hwy 41 from Marion County (the end of #chattajack) to Racoon Mtn.  With the fallen leaves, I could see much of the river on my left.  The sight pulled me in and I saw how big the river looked and how, even when on a 21 foot ski, I would take up no space on that river when I paddle.  I remembered each landmark on the river, exactly where I would be if I was paddling, and all the varied conditions I’ve enjoyed on the river.  

My life on the ski has revolved around #chattajack for the last 2 years -- that was the #1 race goal each year.   And I’ve spent hours and miles on the river, learning it backwards and forwards.  I realized as I looked down at it, how much it holds my soul.  It’s a place I could see asking for my ashes to inhabit one day.  

Heading to Sullivan's Cove from Downriver

Heading to Sullivan's Cove from Downriver

Two years ago I couldn’t even really fathom that I could paddle 32 miles, let alone the 100s of miles I paddled to prepare.  I have experienced so much life on the river: joy, sorrow, frustration, fear, ecstasy, fatigue, boundless energy, quiet, excitement.

The Tennessee River Gorge

The Tennessee River Gorge

#Chattajack will be my goal again next year.  I am so lucky to have this beautiful Tennessee River to paddle and to know.  

It has become a “road” to home -- a home I didn’t know existed and I didn’t know I needed not long ago.  And like any road to home, I celebrated the intimate knowledge of all its twists and turns along the way.  

I am so lucky!