Stephanie Johnson Photography (StephJohnPhoto) | Literary Images

Literary Images

February 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

     Some of you reading this entry may recognize it from a Facebook post I made several months ago, but I thought I would use it to launch my blog.  Part of my vision with this website is to share my photography and images, but also to create a blog that will provide insights into my thought processes, as well as to connect the written word to images.  So much in the way of literature (past and present) is rooted in the natural world, and I would like to pair the two arts--literary and visual--in a way that brings awareness, knowledge, peace, understanding, and an underlying sense of inter-connectedness between humanity and nature to all who will grace me with their attention for just a bit.  

     With that said, enjoy the read below, and please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any thoughts to share.


Hanging Rock Overlook at Effigy Mounds National MonumentHanging Rock Overlook at Effigy Mounds National MonumentOverlooking the Mississippi River

     I have a fascination with Mark Twain. I'm not an expert on his life or on his writings, by any means, but something draws me to him.  A few months ago, I spent some time along the Mississippi River north of Dubuque, and the image above is one of the moments I managed to capture. In his autobiographical work, "Life on the Mississippi," Twain has this to say about this section of the Upper River:

     "We noticed that above Dubuque the water of the Mississippi was olive-green--rich and beautiful and semitransparent, with the sun on it. Of course the water was nowhere as clear or as fine a complexion as it is in some other seasons of the year; for now it was at flood stage, and therefore dimmed and blurred by the mud manufactured from caving banks.

     The majestic bluffs that overlook the river, along through this region, charm one with the grace and variety of their forms, and the soft beauty of their adornment. The steep verdant slope, whose base is at the water's edge, is topped by a lofty rampart of broken, turreted rocks, which are exquisitely rich and mellow in color--mainly dark browns and dull greens, but splashed with other tints. And then you have the shining river, winding here and there and yonder, its sweep interrupted at intervals by clusters of wooded islands threaded by the silver channels; and you have glimpses of distant villages, asleep upon capes; and of stealthy rafts slipping along in the shade of the forest walls; and of white steamers vanishing around remote points. And it is all as tranquil and reposeful as dreamland, and has nothing this-worldly about it--nothing to hang a fret or a worry upon." 

     Timeless words for a timeless river.


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