Ottawa River, ON and Rideau River, ON - Nick Harvey
There have been plenty of occasions upon which the river has granted me some good benefit. The one I am thinking of was a particular summer's day a couple of years back. I had several times been out on my bike and on foot along the coastal path, and a few times had accompanied my friend in his fishing exploits (often near or on Victoria Island, or the shore where the Champlain bridge begins, near or under it). On this particular day, though, I was able to find a secluded rocky incline lowering gently into the water. The sun shone warmly on the swift drop-off into the depths, and onto the dozen or so small islands within view. Recently I had woven amongst them--albeit never disembarking or setting foot on them--in an inflatable dinghy with my friend, and the pleasant vista gave rise to imagining or visualizing how an exploration of them might go.
On another occasion, I sat and read a book on a bench on the west end of the Bate Island loop, and wandered down over to Cunningham and Riopelle Islands, wondering how animals might live on those spots restricted to human passage. Nearby, along the river path, slight deviations from the paved route can easily bring folks into wooded areas replete with chattering birds, fascinating undergrowth, and intriguing riverside rocks.
On yet another occasion, I would often take my lunches upon the edge of the Rideau River down just northeast of Hurdman transit terminal, overlooking the university stadium on the other shore, with a very shallow bar in the middle of the river. Upon the pedestrian bridge it was possible to watch fish completely clearly in the waters, and to watch the birds sunning, waddling, or hunting.
All of these experiences have been super restorative, meditative, rewarding, transformative--anything you'd care to call it when one feels that absorbing (and, ideally, interacting with) the ecosystem around you feels fulfilling!