Water Closet for May 27, 2016
[pullquote]”The other day on a pleasant paddle from Farnsworth Landing to Peabody Street Landing six old men in three canoes admired these silent markers in a watery world seemingly so different than our air breathing one above”[/pullquote] Long handled soft lances now grace the Ipswich River’s channel. Millions of maroon water plants, a species in the genus Potamogenton, point to the sea. Paddlers only have to look down to see the way. The flexible string-like stems ending in perfectly elliptical blades just below and on the surface go with even the slightest flow. The other day on a pleasant paddle from Farnsworth Landing to Peabody Street Landing six old men in three canoes admired these silent markers in a watery world seemingly so different than our air breathing one above. Where the blades hover it is cool; conditions are relatively constant. Wind is not felt; sunlight is filtered. The water supported-stems and leaves float in shimmering parallel unison. The single leaf blades terminating each thin stem form a 3-D Escher design in the top few centimeters, giving the water structure which strongly attracts, and might, if stronger, pull us in. Mile after mile while not leaving their attached-to-the-bottom spots they were with us. When the air is hot and the sun too bright paddlers have but to look down to feel calm and cool, eyes rested. Unlike most plants these do not appear green. Reflected browns and reds and most shades in between are how they appear in the air above. As do all photosynthetic plants they give us oxygen in the light, and like all organisms including us eventually provide food for others ending in bacteria. Their lives are yearly reminders of daily, annual, and life cycles. Their forms come and go as do human paddlers as the seasons wax and wane.
The thin line between the worlds of water and air has forever been attractive to humans. Long land animals, we retain many of the genes of aquatic ancestors who stayed behind. Perhaps in this relationship is the powerful attraction between us and water and water organisms. Even folks who don’t swim or fish flock to the waters of the world. One old lady, Stream Teamer Glenice Kelley swims summer days and nights in Lake Madawaska, Aroostook County, Maine, in the northern most part of our country. Now and then she sends glowing reports of what she has seen and felt. Glenice well knows there is more to water than fishing and exercise. The seaweeds of the salt waters’ edges reveal themselves at low tide and glisten in the sun. Their briny smells excite. The fresh water plants such as Potamogenton call us back too. On entering or even looking in from above we are attracted to our ancestors’ ancient home.
In waters covering over three quarters of the biosphere and long mysterious to even sailors, we humans with high tech machines and greatly evolved brains are returning to explore. In time maybe we’ll protect rather than blindly exploit and pollute. Our ever increasing knowledge of evolutionary links and ecological relationships demand it. Above, we used the phrase “a world so different,” yet the larger watery world is one basic in our natural history and to our present survival. “Our”, here meaning all organisms including those that live in water. Perhaps someday we who have complex languages and thus rule will do away with nationalism and clashing religions and become wise biospherians.
Get on the water with the Potamogentons that seems to be pointing the way to such enlightenment. Also enjoy the emerging pickerel weeds, burr reeds, smart weeds, and arrowheads flanking them.
WATER RESOURCE AND CONSERVATION INFORMATION
FOR MIDDLETON, BOXFORD AND TOPSFIELD`
|Precipitation Data* for Month of:||Feb||Mar||Apr||May|
|30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches||3.25||4.65||4.53||4.06|
|2016 Central Watershed Actual||3.71||3.80||2.65||2.0** as of May 23|
Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For May 24, 2016 Normal . . . 52 CFS Current Rate . . . 6.3 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru April.
** Middleton Stream Team is the source of actual precipitation data for May
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584