One could survey the serpentine bend in the river from way up there, and try to guess how its fluvial contours might have changed through millennia, like a curvy seductress rolling over in her smooth satin sheets. People in grand houses perched high on the bluff could sip coffee and nibble on toast with the obedient river doing their bidding. Whatever character they imagined it possessed, if they thought of it at all, did not matter from their vantage point up there. Down here, though, in the floodplain, the river’s uneasy water roiled past tumbledown dwellings, and on some days belched out a fishy stench that made you gag if you ventured too close. The shore left nothing to the imagination, shell and rock commingling with manufactured castoffs, variegated bits and pieces held fast in its dirty silt.
Now the morning light betrayed two shadowy figures in the distance, one of them a man, stooped to examine something, the other a dog with his nose to the ground. The two of them continued on their way without urgency, as if the day held no particular promise for either of them.