8 x 8 oils
Water on earth cycles from the oceans, where it evaporates from the surface, into the atmosphere, forms clouds, falls onto the land as rain, travels through wetlands, rivers, lakes and underground then returns to the ocean — collectively known as the hydrologic cycle.
This piece is the second of a 6 part series on the journey of water to the sea. The series will be grouped together to have more impact and link the journey logically. Part I showed the origin - or one of the origins - or water. Rain.
Very close to me are wetlands, even some of my property is a wetland, home to wild ducks, mink and moose. The rain overspills its groundwater source and forms ponds and pools, eventually spilling out and creeping forward like a homing pigeon looking for the sea.
The water forms small and large rivulets that cross woodlands and meadows, soaking the ground and over time, killing trees and changing the vegetation that grows there. Where there were once trees and grass are now marsh plants such as cat tails, aquatic grasses and flag irises.
The water rises and falls depending on the weather and season, but it moves relentlessly towards the sea. How does it know to flow there? Why does it cross heaven and earth to reach its destination, only to reverse the cycle all over again?
Not all water flows to the sea. There are large areas of southern Saskatchewan where the drainage is internal and water does not escape to the sea. This also happens in parts of Australia and Russia. Runoff within these internal drainage basins can produce saline lakes surrounded by white salt crusts. Dissolved salts are transported in surface and ground waters to the lakes. As the lakes have no outlet stream, the salts are trapped, and concentrated by ongoing evaporation of the lake waters.