Last Stand

photography by Amie Vanderford

As metaphor, nothing in these parts could be more profound. As the Mississippi River flows, so flows the life of Memphians and so many thousands more, from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to New Orleans. Over the last two years, the Father of Waters has been as volatile as the temper of a newborn, rising in May 2011 to heights no human had seen in 70 years, then dropping this year to lows that threatened the very functionality of North America’s largest river. (Does West Memphis have a beach?)

As one year ends and another dawns, the Big Muddy could teach us a lesson or two about the nature of normalcy. At one level or another, Ol’ Man River keeps rollin’ along. That much we know from our favorite blues legends.

And so will flow life in Memphis, from one year to another. Strong, steady, and yes, beautiful.

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