From: Little Rivers - A Book of Essays in Profitable Idleness by Henry Van Dykewritten in 1895.
A river is the most human and companionable of all inanimate things. It has a life, a character, a voice of its own, and is as full of good fellowship as a sugar-maple is of sap. It can talk in various tones, loud or low, and of many subjects, grave and gay. Under favourable circumstances it will even make a shift to sing, not in a fashion that can be reduced to notes and set down in black and white on a sheet of paper, but in a vague, refreshing manner, and to a wandering air that goes "Over the hills and far away." For real company and friendship, there is nothing outside of the animal kingdom that is comparable to a river.
Or the more blunt words of Robert Louis Stevenson from An Inland Voyage,
"After a good woman, and a good book, and tobacco, there is nothing so agreeable on earth as a river.”
Or the more spiritual words of Thomas Moore,
"We let a river shower its banks with a spirit that invades the people living there, and we protect that river, knowing that without its blessings the people have no source of soul."