Trails of the mighty, meandering Mississippi
“Meander” is one of those verbs so often assigned to rivers that it loses almost all meaning (like “babble” to brook). But rivers do meander, and few so much as the mighty Mississippi. There’s a 1944 report now hosted online by US Army Corps of Engineers that contains, in a feat of elegant technical abstractionism, a history of Mississippi meanders. The multi-coloured loops are mesmerizing; the white course snaking in between is the latest iteration of the river’s movement. I am curious to know if this river-wandering has been entirely clamped down upon by the Corps, a tale well told by John McPhee in Control of Nature. Though if McPhee’s book holds any clues, whatever engineering has accomplished is certainly to be temporary and the river’s footprints are likely to continue their weave in the future.
You can download the entire 1944 report in super-high resolution, or see below for samples.