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The downstream impacts…

I like to call the narrow waterway behind my house a stream.

That’s not close to what it really is.

It may have been a stream before development ran roughshod over this neighborhood, but now it’s just another drainage. Roughly 60 yards from where I’m sitting in my third floor office, it spills out of a six foot high culvert which siphons rainwater runoff from a big apartment complex that’s another 50 yards further beyond.

Every so often I head down toward the culvert to retrieve junk that is either bobbing in the water or has washed up along the bank. That I can make it across this waterway with a modest leap tells you how wide it is. Essentially, I tend to the 60-70 yard stretch of water.

Indeed, I did head down to the 'stream' where I recovered the two previously seen polystyrene cups, plus a Diet Coke bottle.

Indeed, I did head down to the ‘stream’ where I recovered the two previously seen polystyrene cups upper right corner), plus a Diet Coke bottle (left foreground).

The problem comes another quarter mile or so farther down stream. My little rivulet runs into a larger creek, which runs into another creek, then another, and finally this entire watershed empties into the Catawba River.

Right now, I am in the process of standing up at my desk and will put on some old running shoes that can get as muddy as they want, then head toward the culvert again. There look to be at least two polystyrene cups lodged up against some fallen limbs with who knows how much more debris is hidden from sight, the residue from this weekend’s heavy rains. There’s no telling how much I’ve missed that is already headed toward points South. Could be a lot, could be a little.

Fungi grow readily just inches above the waterline of my little stream. They are apparently oblivious to our repeated attempts to ruin their very stomping ground.

Fungi grow readily just inches above the waterline of my little stream. They are apparently oblivious to our repeated attempts to ruin their very stomping ground.

I’m always amazed that, despite man’s inept carelessness, there is some life that persists on the red clay banks. Perhaps the wild mushrooms, lizards, wandering deer and the ever-present black snakes are telling us, “Screw you guys. Is this the best you have?”

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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