Willow Sieve Chronicles - Eavesdropping from the Wilderness

Universally generations have been captivated by Mississippi River Legends and mystique, however no one can truly know the great river unless they clutch a paddle for 2,300 miles or read "Willow Sieve Chronicles". One can read Twain and everything written since or perhaps take an expensive excursion on Delta Queen, however, one will never come to know the sight, sound, smell, taste and touch of the "Mighty Muddy" unless they climb aboard the battered, borrowed, open aluminum canoe christened Willow Sieve and ride along with Blaine and Shocker from the headwaters to the Gulf.

A novice adventurer/wanna be writer made a spur of the moment decision to canoe the length of the Mississippi accompanied solely by a spoiled family pet foolishly thinking that PhD in the late 20th Century could reenact the feats of early explorers. Barely seventy hours after the initial impulse however, the man was chest deep in a wild rice bog with a terrified dog wrapped around his neck; frantically clinging to the canoe while they were being pounded by a brutal, early Arctic nor'wester that hurled the canoe off of the river then mercilessly pounded them with sleet. The man was locked in a life or death struggle for survival and Willow Sieve Saga had only just begun.

They were to endure wind, electrical storms, torrential rain, fog, freezing rain, bitter cold, sandstorms, floodwater, cascades, collisions, punctures and a tornado...there were encounters with river pirates, an escaped convict, standoff with a street gang and seemingly incessant punishing wind often punctuated by farcical, sometime tragic "dryland scrambles" that arose during attempts to reestablish contact with civilization in order to replenish supplies. Those forays yielded a vagrancy arrest, visit to "The Twilight Zone" and an overstated reenactment of "Hell's a' Poppin" and numerous chance meetings with colorful characters and real river people. In spite of unbelievable setbacks, the adventurous misfits somehow managed to escape to the peace and serenity of Nature where most days ended with the scintillating perception of "Eavesdropping from a Wilderness" so near yet so very far away.

The initial sixty-eight-day voyage of Willow Sieve and her inept crew was a ride on a natural as well as emotional roller-coaster during which highs grew higher and the lows sank to unimaginable depths with each passing day, every mile of the way from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico which ultimately rose to a rollicking, rip-roaring crescendo before the maiden voyage of The Willow Sieve was to end December 18, 1991.


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