Rogue Elements of the Upper Mississippi

July 17th, 2020

A series of flash nonfiction pieces chronicling some of the rogue elements encountered during the Anthropocene River Journey.

In this essay, made up of a series of flash nonfiction pieces, Emily Sekine chronicles some of the rogue elements she encountered during the month she spent in Fall 2019 as a Traveler on the Anthropocene River Journey. Although the Mississippi is known for being one of the most highly-engineered rivers on the planet, it remains full of surprises. Controlling the river’s unruliness is an ongoing project—one that is only ever partially successful. Taking that unruliness as a starting point, the essay resists a single, straightforward narrative path; rather, following the dynamics of the river itself, it meanders, shifts, and converges with other elements and stories along the way. The postscript to the essay connects the lessons learned on the Mississippi with the current COVID-19 global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter uprisings.