river meander

I was canoeing with my dad and we saw what we thought at first was a loon flapping its wings but realized as we got closer was actually a mother moose with her baby standing up to her neck in the river and splashing water around with her ears. We were like “aww, that’s sweet”, then realized that we were rapidly getting closer to her and she wasn’t moving. We were in a river with a not-insubstantial current (those meandering rivers you get up in the muskeg with little rapid-y bits at the loops) so we kinda had to play chicken and just float towards her and hope that she decided to leave peacefully instead of engage, talking about how this was the most Canadian possible way to die. Eventually I guess she decided we weren’t worth it, got up on the bank to shake off, and ran off into the bush.

At Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska, wild rivers meander through glacier-carved valleys, caribou migrate along age-old trails and endless summer light fades into aurora-lit night skies of winter. It remains virtually unchanged except by the forces of nature. With no roads or trails, getting here is a challenge, but the reward is a lifetime of amazing memories. Photo by Carl Johnson, National Park Service.

flickr

River Mersey Panorama by Tony
Via Flickr:
Il live about a quarter of the way from left to right. On the far right is the large ship building hangers of Lairds. Ship builders have been building and repairing here since 1824. On the far right is the beginning of Liverpool with the airport just in shot.

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Not only is this a cool scene, look closely and you can see flowpaths in the water of the Colorado as stuff moves along the surface.

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Canaves Oia Hotel – Santorini, Greece

Dramatically located on the northwestern tip of Santorini, Canaves Oia Hotel is a cluster of whitewashed cave-style buildings, sun-drenched patios, and glistening pools – all of them overlooking the deep blue Aegean Sea below. Carved into the cliffside, the luxurious suites boast minimalist, dazzling white interiors with marble floors, bespoke furnishings, and breathtaking caldera views. Some of them are decorated with idyllic verandas, others have private pools and state-of-the-art Jacuzzis, and the most spectacular of all comes with its own meandering river-like plunge pool. The hotel’s intimate poolside restaurant serves fresh Greek/Mediterranean specialties.

Established in a high valley tucked into the Allegheny Mountains, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in West Virginia preserves almost 17,000 acres of forest and wetlands. The Blackwater River meanders through this rugged and gorgeous landscape, supporting an impressive variety of wildlife. The refuge is a great place for fishing, hiking and, as you can see, photography. Photo by Frank Ceravalo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A Reference for Dual Lands (in Building a Budget Manabase)

Orzhov - Orzhov Basilica, Orzhov Guildgate, Scoured Barrens, Foresaken Sanctuary, Tainted Field, Salt Flats

Dimir - Dimir Aqueduct, Dimir Guildgate, Dismal Backwater, Salt Marsh, Submerged Boneyard, Frost Marsh, Jwar Isle Refuge, Dreadship Reach, Tainted Isle, Waterfall Cavern, Rootwater Depths

Golgari - Golgari Rot Farm, Golgari Guildgate, Foul Orchard, Jungle Hollow, Tainted Wood, Pine Barrens

Rakdos - Rakdos Carnarium, Rakdos Guildgate, Urborg Volcano, Cinder Barrens, Bloodfell Caves, Akoum Refuge, Molten Slagheap, Tainted Peak, Lantern-Lit Graveyard, Cinder Marsh

Boros - Boros Garrison, Boros Guildgate, Stone Quarry, Wind-Scarred Crag, Scabland

Azorius - Azorius Chancery, Azorius Guildgate, Coastal Tower, Meandering River, Boreal Shelf, Sejiri Refuge, Tranquil Cove, Calciform Pools, Cloudcrest Lake, Thalakos Lowlands

Selesnya - Selesnya Sanctuary, Selesnya Guildgate, Elfhame Palace, Tranquil Expanse, Arctic Flats, Graypelt Refuge, Blossoming Sands, Saltcrusted Steppe, Tranquil Garden, Vecc Townships

Simic - Simic Growth Chamber, Simic Guildgate, Woodland Stream, Thornwood Falls, Skyshroud Forest

Izzet - Izzet Boilerworks, Izzet Guildgate, Highland Lake, Swiftwater Cliffs, Caldera Lake

Gruul - Gruul Turf, Gruul Guildgate, Shivan Oasis, Timber Gorge, Highland Weald, Kazandu Refuge, Rugged Highlands, Fungal Reaches, Pinecrest Ridge, Mogg Hollows

Also of note: Vivid Grove, Crag, Creek, Marsh, Meadow.

River Flows in You

Three dragon!Tobirama drabbles to go with @redhothollyberries’s gorgeous piece of art here!


In Fire Country, there is no time beyond the constant war. There is no force but chakra, no spirit but what drives a shinobi to fight, and the Senju have long since abandoned silly superstitions like leaving offerings that might be better used to fill a soldier’s belly.

Senju Yuuko was once Uzumaki Yuuko, though, and she remembers dragons rising from the sea, gold and gleaming in the sunlight as they left Uzushio’s whirlpools behind them. She was a little girl then, easily awed, but her mother had rested her hands on Yuuko’s shoulders and whispered, “Never forget.”

Years and miles from being that little girl, wed with three strong sons, Yuuko still hasn’t forgotten. She sets aside her own rice, her own sake, and carries it to the river near the Senju Clan compound every day. The Nakano is a peaceful river, wide and meandering with few deadly currents, and she likes to think that the spirit who lives there is equally benevolent. It would be nice if something was, here in this war-torn land.

Her offerings are always taken, and even if her hard, impatient husband scoffs at her and blames it on foxes and birds, Yuuko knows. She pities him, because he doesn’t, because he has never seen the dragons in the sea and known that there was something greater than just himself. But she does, and the absence of sake, of rice, of good green tea and sweet bean buns, always makes her smile.

That’s why, when she learns she’s ill, that a wound earned defending her adopted clan has left poison in her blood, the river spirit is her first thought.

Not for herself—Yuuko was raised on words of caution about bargains with spirits for selfish reasons, cautionary tales that never ended well for those involved. She’s lived, and she will die, and there’s no more to be had. This is her lot. But her children are innocent, young. They don’t deserve the death that will doubtless find them quickly in a shinobi’s life.

On a clear, cool morning, with the mist still hanging like a tattered veil across the land, Yuuko sets her offerings out on the riverbank and waits, kneeling in the wet grass in her best kimono. Birdsong echoes, then falls silent, and the river dances over the rocks in the shallows. She keeps her eyes on the water, watching, waiting.

Finally, it stirs. A pale shape rises from depths that should be too shallow to hold it, shimmering silver and white traced through with striking red. The sinuous body slides from the riverbed to curl on the bank before her, and the dragon-god of the Nakano looks first to her offerings and then to her.

“I would make a bargain,” Yuuko tells him, meeting ancient crimson eyes with all the steadiness she can gather into her soul. “For the protection of my children when I am gone.”

The dragon doesn’t speak, just watches her for long moments that stretch out in the cool morning. Then, careful and regal, he inclines his head, great neck bending as he reaches down. Red whiskers touch her long black hair where it’s laid out around her, acceptance and agreement in one motion, and blue light gathers around him like a sweep of moving water. Silver scales become pale skin, white mane recedes to white hair, red whiskers turn to crimson markings, and a little human boy of no more than four years opens his red eyes to regard her solemnly.

“Thank you for your offerings,” he tells her, this river god in the body of a child. “I will guard your sons as best I can.”

No god can protect against everything, or be everywhere, but like this, maybe at least one of her sons will have a chance. “Thank you,” she whispers, and reaches out, and he allows her to gather him up in her arms and clutch him close. “Thank you.”

When she carries him home, no one in the clan sees anything strange. They smile, comment on how Tobirama has grown, how handsome he’ll be, just like her other sons, and Yuuko smiles back, secretive and sly, and thanks them for their kindness.

The dragon-child in her arms just watches, silent and solemn with the wisdom of an age-old river in his eyes, and Yuuko wonders how, even hidden with a spirit’s spell, no one else can see it.


He is the god of the Nakano, carved deep into its bed from centuries of steady flow, but he is not omniscient. Kawarama and Itama both die too far from the river’s banks for him to reach them, and for the first time in his very long life, Tobirama knows helplessness.

They bury Itama while the earth is still bare and raw over Kawarama’s grave, and Tobirama stands beside the boy who is his brother in every way that matters, staring at the small grave. He had felt the boy die, had known when his spirit flickered and faded into death, and it feels like a betrayal of the woman who acted as his mother. The woman who was the first mortal in many, many decades to leave an offering on his banks, to ask a boon, to offer payment for his regard. She had not been desperate even though she was dying, and her poise and daring intrigued him.

Her last remaining son shares many of her virtues, and maybe that’s part of the reason Tobirama has come to love Hashirama the way he does.

When the last of the mourners leave, the forest is silent except for the distant calls of birds and the quiet hitches of Hashirama’s breath as he cries. Tobirama reaches for him, curls a hand around his wet cheek and presses his fingers over Hashirama’s where he’s trying to hide his tears, but this body is too small, too weak. He can’t comfort his brother like this.

Hashirama knows what he is, or at least suspects. The Uzumaki blood is strong in him, close to the surface, and Tobirama can sense the touch of a nature spirit in his chakra, like the bite of fresh sap in the open air and the green of new leaves in spring. The charm Tobirama laid on the Senju Clan to twist their memories has always slid off Hashirama’s skin like raindrops on glass, but he’s never asked Tobirama directly about his presence. Here and now, Tobirama hopes that it won’t frighten him or drive him away, but he can’t leave things as they are.

This human form is awkward even after eight years wearing it. As a dragon, as himself, he’s far more capable of offering a moment’s comfort.

The sweep of blue light illuminating the forest pulls Hashirama from his grief. His head snaps up, eyes widening, and he whispers, “Tobirama?” in confusion, but he doesn’t back away.

Tobirama meets his eyes, level and reassuring, for half a moment before the full change takes him, and answers, “It’s all right, brother.”

The light flickers, fades. Hashirama’s eyes are wide, full of wonder even as tears trickle down his cheeks. He stares for a moment, then reaches out, and Tobirama dips his head, brushing small, callused fingers with his long whiskers. Hashirama’s face twists up, more tears breaking free, and with a muffled sob he throws himself forward, clutching at silver-scaled shoulders.

Letting out a quiet huff, Tobirama curves his long neck around, surrounding Hashirama as best he can. He closes his eyes, letting his own grief fill him as Hashirama cries quietly, no Butsuma here to reprimand him for the show of emotion. There’s grief in Tobirama as well, deep and dark like a forgotten well, and he thinks of warm, kind, cheerful Itama, so desperate for a world at peace, and mourns.

It won’t happen again. Tobirama swears that to himself. Hashirama at least will survive, even if Tobirama has to permanently shed his human skin to see to it.

Not only for the Lady Yuuko. Not only for a promise made on a riverbank, or offerings left where other mortals had long forgotten. For the sake of a boy with a forest in his soul, a kindness Tobirama can hardly fathom. For Hashirama, who dreams of peace and happiness, and stands apart because of it.

Tobirama is the god of the Nakano, set in his ways. But eight years as a brother to a human boy with the sun in his smile and that’s no longer all he is, or all he can be. Like a new path carved into the earth, he’s growing in small ways, in streamlets and shifting banks and calm shallows where rapids once flowed.

Change is natural in a river’s course. Tobirama wonders when he forgot that. Wonders when, exactly, Hashirama was able to remind him.


Hashirama meets a boy on the banks of the Nakano, a boy with wild black hair and sharp black eyes and dreams of peace to match his own.

There are eyes on them, he knows, but doesn’t mention it to Madara. Smiles, and laughs, and hopes his little brother sees that there’s a chance for strangers to meet and become friends, because Hashirama worries for Tobirama. He seems lonely sometimes, ancient and aged and so separate from the rest of the world with his cleverness and sharp tongue and watchful red eyes.

But Madara can be a friend, is a friend to Hashirama, and maybe he can be one to Tobirama as well.

Madara waves as he leaves, running swiftly back into the trees, and Hashirama waves back, grinning after him.

When he turns, it’s little surprise at all to find a young boy with white hair seated on the bank beside him, watching the retreating figure with some strange assessment in his gaze.

“I like him,” Hashirama says, not quite stubbornly, but with the warning that he can be. “We’re going to be friends.”

Tobirama glances sidelong at him, the faint edges of a smirk on his lips. He scoops up a handful of jagged rocks from the bank and cradles them in his hands for a moment, then tips them out at Hashirama’s feet. They spill over his sandals, no longer jagged but smooth and worn to perfect roundness.

“You don’t even know his clan name,” Tobirama says, as though the stones aren’t already his answer, as though he can’t see Hashirama’s spreading grin.

Hashirama ignores the grumbled words, lunging forward. He trips over his own feet, stumbles, and when Tobirama rises to catch him with a startled expression, Hashirama snatches up his little brother in a tight hug.

“I love you, Tobirama,” he whispers into soft white hair.

There’s a pause, a quiet huff. Small arms wrap around him in return, and Tobirama hugs him back.

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Speedboat on an extremely sinuous river (probably in a river delta in Alabama based on the photographer’s location). Plus a bit of jazz. 

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south bay salt works,
san francisco bay, california.


if you ever flew to san francisco (and landed while the sun was still shining),
you probably know this stunning sight: salt ponds in all colors and shapes, meandering salt rivers and foster city’s unique landscape and city map
form a kaleidoscopical color arrangement that is truly one of a kind -
and such a great address of welcome to the golden state!

(pics taken from 2011- 2014 on some of our many arrivals to SFO)

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“May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.“ — Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

Sam + autumn colors → requested by @cassastark