Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Confluence Park and other musings on water -- for free! No $300,000 for you, Scott McInnis

Scott McInnis collected $300,000 for his "Musings on Water," but this one is free. Denver may be a landlocked city, but a river still runs through it -- and the transformation of the South Platte River from a stinky stream to a true urban amenity is one of this city's real success stories.

I live close to the juncture of the South Platte and Cherry Creek, where Denver got its start 152 years ago, and which today is Confluence Park, Denver's best beach on hot days, filled with families and hipsters and athletes and meanderers who stop to read these words from poet Thomas Hornsby Ferril, posted on a wall there:

Two rivers that were here before there was a city still come together: One is a mountain river flowing toward the mountains by feeling them and turning back the way some of the people who came here did.

Most of these people hardly seemed to realize they wanted to be remembered because the mountains told them not to die.

I wasn't here, yet I remember them, the first night long ago, those wagon people who pushed aside enough of the cottonwoods to build our city where the blueness rested.

They were with us, they told me afterward when I stood on a splintered wooden viaduct before it changed to steel and I to a man, they told me while I stared down at the water:

"If you stay we will not go away."

As part of the Ocean Conservancy's 25th annual Intercoastal Cleanup, volunteers will be meeting for the annual South Platte River Sweep tomorrow. The crews will gather at 8 a.m. September 25 at Fishback Landing Park on the South Platte, just up from Confluence Park north of Ocean Journey. You can sign up to help here.

We may not have an ocean, but we do have water -- and musings on it.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun