I know people who find tricksters in the city where they live. They go to their neighborhood bakery, to the , park, and everywhere their trickster opens their senses to new experiences that excite their curiosity and challenge their assumptions. Others who live in the mountains find tricksters there,or in the mountains, or in a small rural town, football stadium. Some may even take the guiding hand of tricksters when they go to their favorite shopping mall, although I’m not so sure of that.
My trickster exists for me in Potomac Country, and its name is Patowmack. For me it’s the Potomac River, not just that ruggedly scenic portion that lies a 10 minute walk from my house, but all of the tributaries and streams, and even the gullies that snake and turn up the sides of hills and mountains that only occasionally see water. This is Potomac Country, and here is where my xxxx intersects with the system of knowledge we call nature. The name of my trickster is Patowmack.
I became aware of Patowmack only recently, long after my childhood exploring the forests and swamps near by home in Westchester Country north of New York City. It was also long after I went to college in Massachusetts, and then to the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, where my river was the Revantazon, now an impoundment. It was even long before I moved to Maryland’s Washington, D.C.’s suburbs, where my job took me on adventures throughout South and Central America, getting to know the fabled Amazon, the XXXXX in Peru, the XXXX in Guatemals, and so many more, but only as a visitor.
During all this time I made xxxx with the Potomac. “Don’t schedule any sleepovers on weekends,” I would tell my children. The weekends were reserved for trips to the river. The river helped to raise my children, like sports teams and television for other children.
My children moved on, my son to explore the world of academia and my daughter to be a designer and musician in her treasured neighborhood in Baltimore. Meanwhile I retired, and found myself realizing how much I depended on the river and the nature it represented to me, both as a source of joy and occasionally solace, and also of intellectual stimulation. I opened my mind to the river, and Patowmack revealed himself to me and offered to help me continue my journey. I accepted.
My name is Roger Hamilton, and I am approximately 60 percent water from the Potomac River. This says something about where I live and my consumption of bottled vs. tap water. So far my drinking habits do not seem to have caused me any physical problems.
I am fortunately to be able to get from home to on the water in about 20 minutes. That includes five minutes to get the kayak on my car roof, and another five minutes to it down to the muddy put-in at Old Anglers Inn. This place is just a little upstream from my house in Bethesda, Maryland.
ince I retired from downtown D.C. in 2007, I’ve had more time to learn about the river. I’ve studied it first-hand, underwater as well as from above. I’ve also read a great deal about the river, its natural history, and particularly how people and the river have interacted over the centuries. I’ve met up with many experts, not just scientists and other professionals, but anyone who knows things that I don’t know.