ONE ADVANTAGE OF CANOEING Buffalo Bayou in early June is that the water isn’t cold when your canoe tips and you find yourself thrown overboard. My old friend Geoff Winningham and I had put in under the Shepherd Drive bridge, where the bayou makes one of its frequent long, slow arcs. We were just twenty feet below the top of the bank, but we were in a different world. The opposite bank was a steep slope thickly covered with vines and weeds and small, leafy trees hanging out over the water. But our side was flat and sandy, almost like a beach. Up under the bridge someone had laid out flattened cardboard boxes for a mattress, and nearby there were upturned plastic buckets around the cold ashes of a campfire. Geoff and I strapped on life vests, proving for all eternity that we are not as dumb as we look, and pushed off in his aluminum canoe into the bayou.
Geoff is a highly regarded photographer whose work is in the collections of major museums across the United States. He has published often in Texas Monthly and other publications and has six books of photographs to his credit as well. For the past couple of years he has been working on a book of photographs that will trace Buffalo Bayou from its source in Fort Bend County, west of Houston, through the