Along the River (with the Allman Brothers)

‘Twas a federal holiday. Cold, too. Winds lashed bare branches along the Chattahoochee. I passed an archer. He had his bow slung over his right shoulder. The green fletching on the three arrows in his quiver was unimaginably bright limegreen under the day’s leaden sky. The only other colors were grays of the trees, the gray shades of the sky, and flocculent wooly clouds that slid across the skyline. The river was muddy and moved rapidly. The Allman Brothers’ “Blue Sky” lyrics played in my head:

Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing
They don’t worry ’bout where it’s goin’, no, no

Don’t fly, mister blue bird, I’m just walking down the road
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know

You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day
Lord, you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way
Turn your love my way, yeah

Good old Sunday morning, bells are ringing everywhere
Goin’ to Carolina, it won’t be long and I’ll be there

You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day
Lord, you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way
Turn your love my way, yeah, yeah

Cattails grew thick. Game trails going to and from the river and low areas stood out in the red clay under the day’s gray skies. Still I heard Dickey Betts’ voice roll on and his guitar say what words sometimes fail to, that there’s so much to be thankful for, that even on cold windy days along the banks of a muddy river, with a great tune playing in your memory, gratitude seems the proper response.

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