I was born and raised in “the land of 10,000 lakes.” So it should come as no wonder that I have a huge affinity for bodies of water.
Each body of water is itself a wonder. Oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and so on and so forth each has its own ecosystem, its own special beauty, its own unique attributes.
While I am a fan of pretty much every such body of water, I believe that my favorite is rivers and streams. Oceans are impressively huge and salty, lakes have tremendous variations in current and size and make-up…but rivers and streams are constantly in motion.
Rivers and streams flow. They move along, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, carrying with them flotsam and jetsam, as well as aquatic natives from the course it plots.
Rivers cut into the earth like a knife through butter, leaving their mark and showing the way between sometimes tremendous distances. The Mississippi virtually splits the United States in half with its north/south course. The Colorado river snakes through the immense Grand Canyon, providing an end point at its base of tremendous power.
Rivers and streams sometimes carry the most amazing sounds. A shallow example might have small cresting waves over large rocks, that rushing, whooshing sound made by rapids as the current washes over high points. It can be an amazing, relaxing, soothing sound, often replicated on sound machines for its ambiance.
Rivers and streams bring life. Not only do they carry silt along the current to fertilize their banks, they also provide fish and insects for birds and beasts. Sport fishing in streams is very popular around the country, and you can often find men and women up to their waists in the flowing waters, casting lines.
Another amazing thing about rivers and streams is their incredible variations. Some are nearly as wide as lakes, hard to see across. Some are incredibly deep, much history beneath their surface. But some are mere inches thick, and just a few feet across. Impressive variations, but all amazing.
I love when I go for a hike along a wooded path, and unexpectedly find a river or stream. There is nothing I like better than finding somewhere to sit beside it, a rock or such, and listen to it running it course. I find it so much easier to meditate when I have a river or stream near. There is something incredibly relaxing and refreshing about its flow.
Unlike wider, more still bodies of water, rivers and streams carry along in their current constant changes. Whether it’s a large log, colorful leaves, ducks, or even random garbage from upstream, you never know what will flow along past you. You could spend hours in the same spot and never see the same thing float by twice.
Rivers are not just landmarks, but before highways and byways they were the path you followed. Even today, pilots using visual flight rules navigate with rivers. Rivers have been a source of commerce and life to the beginning of human history, all over the world.
Amongst the many bodies of water to be found across the globe, rivers and streams are a wonder of nature I think impossible to deny.
What rivers and streams do you frequent in you travels?
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