… side ways

“I need to slow down some — any recommendations dear rivers?”  — Hatt

Dear Hatt,

Look around a bit more.  Poke around over there, visit over here — and then maybe somewhere else too.  You will see more country, and those places will get to discover you too, so that’s a plus for them!  Think of all those otters and moose that get more shore time.  Wait – what kinds of riparian critters do you have out there in your area?  I suppose that depends on elevation…  are you near those salamanders?  I doubt you have moose.  But you know what I enjoy almost as much?  Little humans.  Just the way they move around is so darn cute.  I think even the fish like them — as long as their folks use barbless hooks;) Those things are the best invention ever. Anyway, many joyful wanderings!

— Happily Unnamed Tributary of Pole Creek

Happ (hey are you guys related??), in her typical circuitous fashion, actually is onto something.  You see, all streams must dissipate energy somehow.  This is where they, like all phenomena in the universe, obey the second law of thermodynamics and increase the world’s entropy.  (Although entropy is also called disorder or chaos, remember it’s not necessarily a bad thing!)

Streams like Wailua Falls use steep steps to dissipate energy in a vertical direction.  But streams with flatter slopes introduce their disorder sideways, by meandering.

The inverse implication, as Happ suggests, is this:  if you introduce more twists and turns into your river, the slope WILL become more gradual.  Because the energy is expended side-to-side, the stream does not NEED to get rid of more through a lot of downs and ups.  The pace becomes more relaxed.  And — bonus! — you get a super classically photogenic stream/life:

So flow off in a tangent, dear Hatt, then switch your bearing again.  These adventures can be new endeavors in the outer world OR new ways of thinking inside your own head.  Both kinds of exploration will allow you to enjoy a more leisurely tempo — plus all us critters around you will benefit from your lengthened presence! Aaahh.

1 thought on “… side ways

  1. Leah

    Once again, pretty dang genius!
    And Aunt Baba- wish you lived closer; I have some small human, magical activity you could take in! (And I KNOW I’m not supposed to end a sentence with a prepositional phrase, but I’m going to leave this one hanging as it just doesn’t seem appropriate here to attach the grammatical bandaid we’ve all come to know and love! 😉


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