As we make our way around the seven-mile bend along the Narrows of the Harpeth, a candid herd of cattle wade in a pool to our starboard unbeknownst to their masses dilapidating the river bank; the discord between Man and Nature is but a faint echo in the wind. It’s a Sunday, and today, we are in God’s country.
However, as a local resident of this slice of heaven we call the greater Nashville area, a strange and bizarre phenomenon has become the reality of what we call home. Somehow, as insiders, we have become the new outsiders.
That’s right. Next time you venture out into the local night-life, ask around. No one actually seems to be from Nashville anymore, all of the “hot spots” are turning more and more into tourists destinations. There’s even a name for us. People are starting to refer to us as “Unicorns,” or “Gems,” far distant connotations from the more blasé local cognomens, such as “Townie” or “Native.”
But what’s important about this anomaly is that while the onslaught of bachelorette parties and the immigration of Chicagoan hordes continue, we Unicorns find ourselves wading in the cool streams of Tennessee’s waterways, just like the cattle we encountered along our journey.
Venturing further downstream, however, the cracking of a dried root system breaks off the elevated embankment to our port bow, reverberating a sound along the channel like thunder before a storm; a sure sign of erosion, as well as a foreboding reminder of how precious our surroundings truly are.
Insomuch as the local community has been infiltrated by people who think they know Nashville, so too have our local waterways been impeded upon. The unnatural erosion occurring along many of Tennessee’s waterways is, nevertheless, a seemingly unavoidable by-product of an ever increasing demand for real estate and agriculture.
The serenity of our rivers and streams can be maintained, however. And with the help of local initiatives, such as the Harpeth River Watershed Association, its magnificence will continue to prosper. But as more and more people continue to enjoy the niceties of Nashville’s backyard, the importance of environmental education must come into play in a way that is as beneficial to the community as it is the environment.
Let’s work together to maintain our magnificent natural resource by protecting our gem and teaching greater Nashville, the new Nashvillian community, and future generations what the Harpeth River means to us.
Until next time.
Guest Post by: Rhett M. Wallace and Charles H. Watkins IV
(Harpeth River Watershed Assoc & TENN4 Productions)
The Harpeth River Watershed Association (HRWA) in middle Tennessee is dedicated to preserving and restoring the ecological health of the Harpeth River and its Watershed. Their work leverages the scientific and technical training and experience of their staff and advisors with the efforts of a diverse corps of volunteers who are crucial to every aspect of their programs. Learn more about the HRWA and their work here.
Missed Team Green’s Harpeth River Cleanup two weeks ago? We removed 38 tires and a truckload of trash from an 8 mile section of the river! Check out photos here, and get involved in our next river cleanup on Saturday, July 18th along the Buffalo River here!