Converging Rivers

by Mark on December 29, 2010

It is a frosty 15 degree dawn as I gaze at the convergence of the Auglaize and Maumee Rivers in hometown – Defiance, Ohio. These waterways are not only the foundation of this area, but they also made a major imprint on me.

Native Americans were the first to appreciate the junction of these rivers. Pontiac, a famous chief, was born and died on its banks. Kingsberry Park, a recreation area at the apex of the convergence, was the site of the largest known North American Native American councils. From the junction General Mad Anthony Wayne declared, “I defy the English, the Indians, and all the devils in hell to take this fort.” Wayne and his troops marched from the aptly named Fort Defiance to defeat a major Native American army near Toledo, pacifying the area.

The two rivers fed industry, including a local General Motors foundry that helped pay for my college costs. Too much industry poisoned the water. Decades later, the cleaner Maumee and Auglaize remain chalky brown.

My Dad claimed these waterways protected us from tornados. The rivers were deadly magnets to youths that attempted to cross their thin ice or dive off their bridges. We played on them in canoes and sought romance in parks along their shores. I regularly pedaled across their four bridges seeking customers for my popsicle business.

I remember standing in the same spot on freezing mornings and murky humid afternoons, staring as the combined rivers flowed east. The waterways stirred my imagination. They reminded me of endless possibilities. I could go anywhere – which I did. Good fortune enabled me to see the Thames, the Rhine, and the Danube, but atthey were always compared to my two rivers.

It is always nice, when returning to see family and friends; the Maumee River greets me in Toledo, like a long lost friend, and guides me home.

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