We all have a story about water. Whether it be an ocean, a river, a lake or a creek in the woods, things happen at the water. I grew up on the Kanawha River in Charleston, West Virginia, and I distinctly remember summers on the river. It’s where my grandpa taught me how to fish for bass (even if I never caught one), and it’s where I spent countless humid days water tubing with friends.
But as with all bodies of water, below the surface, things can get murky. Under the water that glistens in the summer sun is dark strength. In this week’s feature, four writers set out to show both the recreational and terrifying capabilities of the Missouri River. It’s a source of livelihood for some — it provides a pastime and sustenance for commercial and recreational fishers. For others, it’s a source of destruction as its waters overflow the banks, wash away houses and lives, or wipe out towns such as Wakenda, Missouri, which now exists only as a memory.
For Dennis and Tammy Watters, it’s a frontier that needs to be explored. Cars, refrigerators, missing people — these are all things uncovered at the bottom of the river. Using their sonar equipment, Tammy and Dennis have been able to find what’s lost, even when police can’t.
Whether the Missouri’s muddy waters provide or take away, the river is an undeniable force of nature that we continue to revere and respect.