Today we are once again reminded of how much our poet friend Aaron L. Sleyster loved the Root River. He wrote so many poems about it as well as about the iron bridges that spanned it.
There are four pictures included for you, each one taken in a different town in beautiful Fillmore County!
Before you read the poem, here are some “fun facts,” about that body of water, and I quote:
“The Root River flows for 80 miles through the Driftless Area of southeastern Minnesota and is a tributary of the Upper Mississippi River. It is an excellent river for canoeing. The gentle to moderate flowing river drops an average of 3-4 feet/mile from Chatfield, Minn., to its pour point in the Mississippi River into Navigation Pool 7 just south of La Crosse, Wis.
“The South Branch rises in Mower County as agricultural drainage ditches, which disappear underground, re-emerging as a much cooler stream at Mystery Cave near Preston, Minn., the 48 degree water creates superb conditions for brook trout.
“The river lies within Minnesota’s Driftless Area, a region which missed being glaciated during the last ice age, i.e., The Wisconsinian glaciation.
“Root River is an English translation of the Dakota-language name.
“Many fish species such as brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, channel catfish, crappies, shorthead redhorse, river redhorse, golden redhorse, silver redhorse, Longnose Sturgeon, greater redhorse, black redhorse, northern hogsuckers, and white suckers inhabit the river.
“The Root River State Trail is a 42-mile-long (68 km) trail for walking, bicycling, hiking, skating, skiing, etc. It begins in Fountain and continues through Lanesboro, Whalen, Peterson, Rushford, and Houston.”
Is is any wonder why Aaron L. Sleyster loved the Root River?
By Aaron L. Sleyster, 1895
When my daily toil is ended,
And the sun begins to wane,
Oft’ I seek this grand old river
To dispel my care and pain.
What a peaceful change comes o’er me,
How my heart with rapture glows,
While the murmur of the water
Lulls my soul in sweet repose.
River Root, when I am sleeping
Calmly on the other shore,
Purer hearts than mine will love thee,
Purer lives thy banks adore.
Should perchance some weary pilgrim
Worship here at nature’s shrine,
Bury in thy placid bosom
All his care as thou didst mine.
Next week, coming your way, more about the Mighty Root River, so please, stay tuned.