Thursday, February 2, 2012

Suburban Stream

I slipped into the water and really questioned the sanity of it all. The unforested lawns of a trailer park flanked the creek just upstream. There aren’t any forested buffers to protect it from the things we do on land that affect water quality like fertilize lawns, wash cars and salt walks. There are no trees to soak up excess nutrients before they reach the stream, or to hold soil in place. We had a little rain this morning, barely a tenth of an inch, and that was enough to cloud the water.

It’s obvious this is an impacted stream, over fertilized and muddy with sediment. But there are no throw away streams. There aren’t any disposable creeks. Each one has value and worth, and there is beauty in them all. It just took a few minutes for this stretch of Stone Run to reveal its splendor to me today.

White and olive algae and bacteria biofilms cover rocks and create an otherworldly brilliance.
Roots that dangle into the water from the undercut bank are covered in golden biofilm and look like locks of course blonde hair. Always there is life, and life is always incredible.

I floated over a deeper hole and thought how I need to return in spring, when things warm and mating starts. I bet this hole is chock full with fish. Just then three river chubs darted underneath, with the copper fringe of their gill covers and pectoral fins glowing through the smoky water. I turned to follow and found a small school of fat dace trailing. Life is here in abundance now. I do have to return in spring.

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