A River’s Invitiation

By Eileen Bidwell

Reminiscent of my native Chicago, a river runs through the heart of our city, altering its geographic and cultural landscape. Our first encounter with the Truckee was 13 years ago. Strolling down Virginia Street during Hot August Nights, my husband and I noticed a sign directing us to a River Walk. Seeking respite from the crowds and automotive exhaust, we wandered across the Virginia bridge, and found a perfect spot to experience the river. That evening we watched the sun set beyond the mountains to the west. Vintage lamps illuminated the river’s ripples. They danced, animated, with a golden glow. At that moment I knew Reno would someday be our home.

We will never take the astonishing natural splendor of our region for granted. No day is complete without pausing to observe the Truckee’s many moods, from tranquil serenity to rapid rush—powerful and enchanting. Our favorite vantage points are looking west from the wooden bridge downtown, where the horizon is framed by sky and mountains, and from the Booth Street bridge, where we imagine how the river must have appeared before development and human intervention. Then, it meandered past pristine mountain vistas into a mysterious wilderness inhabited by native trees and creatures.

Just as we sought respite from the chaotic festival scene, the Truckee offers an intriguing contrast from the desert landscape, and, for us humans, a respite from the cares of daily life. Rivers are journeys that entice our imaginations to meander along with them. They change with the seasons, the weather, the time of day, and sometimes with the mood of the observer. They create a sense of adventure, a sojourn into an unknown region around each bend. In our urban context, the Truckee is a symbol of our connection to the natural world. And every evening after sunset, it meanders back into the realm of magic.

Featured photo by Cessie Pulleyn