Monday, September 22, 2014

Flowing downhill

So after torrential rains in recent years we have seen pretty intense erosion.  I'm sure it's not any worse than when I was a kid, it's just now I pay attention.

One of the things I have noticed is that, if you have a clear channel, things tend to erode more. Water flows quicker.  So it is good to have stones set irregularly into ditches to slow the flow of water, and make it more irregular.  I had in particular admired the irregular placement of rocks in the ditch of my neighbor across the street.  His ditch had relatively little dirt washed away (oh, the paucity of synonyms for erosion!) in massive storms of late.  I may even have commented to him on the Zen wisdom on it.

So this weekend he and his boys were out working on their ditch.  He explained that his neighbor down the hill -- a jolly retired fellow from Wisconsin who is truly enamored of our fair state and 'hood -- was cleaning out his ditch, so he felt he needed to clean out his own. OK.

But after he was done, I saw that he had pulled all of the nice, irregularly placed stones out of his ditch, and lined them in an orderly fashion along its side.  Yes, it looks neat, but he's gonna see more major soil loss and channeling going forward.  He and his boys worked hard at this, and I'm sure he taught them some important lessons about working hard and together and neighborliness.  But nature will have the last word, and that word will be, you guessed it, erosion. 

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