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.
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.
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?”