Beauty, Order, Productivity
(pg 3 of 3)
The beauty of a stream lies in the illusion of
movement, tumult, freedom, and chaos as it runs
headlong to bigger water and ultimately to the sea.
But as Hearst's poem implies, there is a pattern to
a stream's procession from mountaintop to sea.
There is order to its chaos-to the way the water
flows, to the shape of the channel, to the
multitudes of insects, fish and other life that
swim its waters.
In the last 25 years, scientists have gained new
understanding of streams and the processes that
form them and sustain them. In ways we didn't
appreciate before, we realize that a stream is a
product of activities throughout its entire
watershed. According to author and stream scientist
Thomas F. Waters, a stream is also an organism
that has to be fed, it has to breathe, and to have
its metabolic wastes processed.