by Carol Nitz, Henrico, VA

Story prompt: Write your own story!

Most every weekday morning and evening I have an elevated encounter with the James River. As my car crosses the river on the World War II Memorial bridge, I am never sure what scenery lies ahead.

In the spring, the water often rises and seeps up into the fields that run along the Powhatan side. The trees on the bank begin to turn a bright chartreuse as the new foliage emerges. Bradford Pear trees play with your psyche as their white puffs of flowers appear to be snow covering their branches. The Redbud trees, with their fuchsia flora, pop through the wooded shore and signify that spring is here.Come summer, the water is filled with boats of all descriptions, as well as the occasional inner tube floating down river. How I’d like to kick off my shoes and spend the day lazily floating down the river!

Floods from summer rains can quickly turn this calm water to a raging, rolling brown force that carries branches and tree trunks swiftly down river. The banks will widen as they overflow, giving the illusion that the river is now much wider than normal.

Hopefully nature’s way of cleaning up doesn’t include dangerous flood damage along the way.

Summer seems to quickly turn to early fall, and the morning mist settles on the surface of the river. Once in a while the crew team from U of R emerges from the fog, as they swiftly glide down the river and up under the bridge. The Second Summer sun dries the leaves on the trees and with a good rainfall and crisp nights, the trees begin to change color. They reflect in the water to double the riot of color that stretches as far as you can see. As the weather turns colder, the leaves float down river and allow you to see the entirety of the houses that have been hiding high up on the river banks.

A sporadic train rambles along the shoreline, now in full view as winter emerges. Although the water activities wane, the beauty of the river and its changing seasons does not disappoint.

It is a privilege to drive across the 288 bridge and witness all that nature offers up, even for a few brief minutes daily. So, take a drive and glance at up or down the river sometime soon. It will make your day!