Watching The Whitewater


This morning was grey, overcast, wet, and chilly, but there was water flowing in the ditch from last night’s rain, so I went for my walk up the hollow and back. Usually the walk takes me about an hour. This one took a bit longer because I was watching the whitewater. This is a pass-time that many raft guides indulge in. On rainy days, we walk around and analyze all the whitewater we find. The rivulet running along the side of the road could be a raging river to and ant. The water rushing by in the ditch is like the Grand Canyon to a mouse. The creek is high enough to take a 16 foot raft down it! I contemplate gearing up and doing a run with my canoe, but I decide that the cold is more than I want to deal with right now and am satisfied with walking and observing. I stand on the the bridge a long time examining the rapid upstream. In the summer, there is a rock ledge that I like to pull the inner tube under and let the water gently fall on my legs. Right now its a class IV rapid. Man and boat eating holes, ledges, undercuts, log hazards, and surging boil lines. I mentally pick different lines through the mayhem, which would be the best for a raft, canoe, kayak. I listen to the creek roar, I feel the vibration on my skin, through my feet on the bridge, and my hands where they grip the railing. I smell the muddy earthy smell of brown silt filled high water. I close my eye and listen to what the water is telling anyone who cares to hear it. Eventually I turn around and look down stream, its a quick moving riffle disappearing around the far bend (into another rapid). I think of all the rain drops it took to fill the creek to this height, I visualize traveling to the confluence with the Schoharie, and following that down to the reservoir, past the dam, all the way to another confluence with the Mohawk River/ Erie Canal. That eventually flows to the Hudson and out to the ocean. I wonder how long it will take each drop of water to reach the sea. Many of them won’t. They will be sucked up into the aqueduct system that feed New York City. Some will be detained by the power authority and recycled endlessly up and down a mountain to create electricity. Some drops will end up on farm fields and other places. I open my eyes and continue waking, watching the whitewater, and thinking like a water molecule.


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