Fraser River joins Thompson River
Source: Wikipedia, Thompson River

From Ethel Wilson, Swamp Angel (1954). A woman leaves her husband and heads north, by bus, in British Columbia, in order to obtain work as a cook-manager in one of the lodges. One of her fellow passengers comments, as they arrive in Lytton, British Columbia:

“There’s a kind of thing at Lytton people like to see. Like to see it myself…ever since I was a kid. Maybe you’d have time if the bus stops for a lunch…there’s two rivers comes in, there’s the Fraser from the north and the Thompson from the east and they’re two different colours where they join. Fraser’s dirty, Thompson’s kind of green-blue, nice water. Mightn’t be so good now. Depends on how high’s the water. Depends on time of year…”

It is true. Say “Lytton Bridge”–and the sight springs clear to the eyes. There is the convergence of the two river valleys and the two rivers. The strong muddy Fraser winds boiling down from the north. The gay blue-green Thompson River foams and dances in from the east. Below the bridge where Maggie stood the two rivers converge in a strong slanting line of pressure and resistance. But it is no good. The Thompson cannot resist, and the powerful inexorable Fraser swallows up the green and the blue and the white and the amethyst. The Thompson river is no more, and the Fraser moves on to the west, swollen, stronger, dangerous, and as sullen as ever.

Overtaking the pristine, sixty years ago.

And for centuries before, and decades after.


About brucelarochelle
This entry was posted in British Columbia, Literature. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Confluence

  1. In the same way, the ethical individual is swallowed up by the conventional mores of his or her legalistic society; purity overcome by common practice.

    The rivers form a metaphoric equation: purity + impurity = impurity.

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