Monks of the River

Watching a barge go through the Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River at Lacrosse, Wisconsin, I was amazed at the solitude and patience these guys have.

They work hard, spending weeks on the river, traveling from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. To get through a Lock and Dam, they have to break the barge apart into smaller sections, and push each section through the lock. Then, the workers stand and wait, as the water level is raised or lowered. Watching them just stand there, I wonder what goes through their minds. Do they miss home, and family? As they stand there in silence and solitude, they remind me of monks, living a life of quiet labor, detached from the noisy, hate-filled life of the outside world.

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