I am ancient now. Not so old as the land, but older by millennia than the fragile flesh that surrounds me. I have watched them from their fledgling youth, teetering on uncertain feet, coming to me for sustenance, never daring to venture far.
I have watched them grow through their childhoods. I have flowed steadily by, unchanged, as they built houses, towns and cities beside me. I have transported them in their flimsy crafts, first of wood and now of fibreglass.
I have provided them food, sustenance, irrigation and power, I am their life and also their death. When they have outstepped the boundaries, I have claimed my tribute, and chortled as mothers wailed their sorrows to the wrong deities.
Through rains and drought, I have risen and waned. I am power. I am might. I am life.
But stop. What is this new plague that niggles at me? The flesh beasts increase without control, the Summers grow longer and drier. They drain me, sucking and drawing like ravening nurselings. They steal from each other, with no plan for the future.
I grow smaller, thinner. I weaken with each day. Do they not see? Without me, there is no life. Yet they do not cease their avaricious onslaught, cursing at me when I cannot water their crops, when I am not high enough for their water play. And again when I flow too quickly, frothing and foaming with rapids that sweep away new plantings, animals, their kin.
Never satisfied, they rail and rage. And I diminish.