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Down By the River

Miss Lowell

 "Miss Lowell, won' you jus' please see what everyone is talkin 'bout before you cast it off? Come down to the river with us," is how it began. It had been "an innocent proposal and that was all," to the young, recent-grad of an elite school in the northeast. She had wound up in the rolling hills of Appalachia on a whim, a "I'm going to change the world" fleeting feeling that often leaves the system, but only after one makes some sort of hilariously dreadful commitment. Yes, Miss Lowell went down to the river that day. She saw the little children wading on the edge of the river, slowly floating down and swimming playfully back up in a never-ending game. But she also saw the children's parents. They were performing baptisms out in the middle of the river." Let the Lord enter you and cleanse you. Take the spirit into you. Let it wash over you. Let it move you," rang out over the river's pulse. The entire group of believers would then fall below the waterline, cleansing themselves of the past week's sins. Soon enough, Miss Lowell, entranced by such unknown revelry, waded out into the water to join them. Southern spirituality [and any spirituality in general for that matter] was something foreign to her, foreign and thus mysterious, and thus something that she could talk about to her friends back home. She fought to join them in the river, but soon enough, the fight to stay with them grew to be too much. She fell under while the preacher was still preachin the Gospel. She fell under and no one noticed, too deep in prayer with Jehovah, the Spirit, the Everlasting Source. She fell under and no one knew where she went. The children's voices rang out all night, "Miss Lowell, won' you please come out, this sure is some long game of hide-n-seek. Miss Lowell, won' you please?” Followed by howls. Followed by the chorus, “Take that spirit into you. Let that spirit wash over you. Hear the gospel, hear the gospel, hear the gospel.”

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Project Cover Photo:  "Wade in the Water." Postcard of a river baptism in New Bern, North Carolina near the turn of the 20th century. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:River_baptism_in_New_Bern.jpg)

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