Thursday, 14 May 2009

The Journey to the sea

Flooded path sketch
9 x 12 watercolour

We don't often think about the origins ocean water and how it is continually fed by rivers and streams and rain. Its one of those things that is taken for granted without thinking about the journey from land to sea that water takes and its shape changes along the way.

It all starts with a drop of water...

While the ocean environment has conditioned every aspect of the Newfoundland and Labrador experience, the province also has ample fresh water, the source of which is abundant precipitation. More than 8% of the area of the province is occupied by lakes, slightly greater than the average for Canada, and as elsewhere water is also stored in the soil, either close to the surface where it can be used by plants or deeper in the rock as groundwater where it may be tapped by wells or returned to the surface in springs.

Besides lakes and groundwater, Newfoundland and Labrador also has many rivers. These rivers show marked seasonal variations of flow. Throughout the province peak flow occurs in late spring or early summer as the result of spring run-off, when winter snow melts and runs over the surface directly to the nearest stream. Some of the melting snow infiltrates into the soil (if the soil is not frozen), moving slowly downslope. Some of this soil water percolates deeper to the groundwater, moving even more slowly.

This Google map shows Flatrock and the abundance of freshwater ponds and lakes that are in the area. I don't think I'll have a problem with my well drying up anytime soon.

I would like to track one small trail of water as it searches for its way to the Atlantic here in Flatrock. The journey starts with groundwater, which is my water source through a well. Also the groundwater feeds some of the ponds close to my house. They in turn spill over into rivulets of water that wend their way through forest, meadows and ditches and feed my pond.

One of the wetland areas near my house is a small lane to the marsh. Its rarely dry and until the heat of summer dries up the flow, the path is like a river itself, if only a static one. I have painted this path several times and wanted to try it again, but in watercolour, to get a more delicate version of this rocky, muddy piece of semi-aquatic landscape.

I will continue to track the water as it heads towards the sea and show you where it takes me along the way until we reach the Atlantic ocean.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Brilliant idea Jeanette and I love your watercolour

It might also be interesting to try and track parts of it throughout the year. I've been watching the water level at my pond go down as the quantity of green shoots goes up!

Lindsay said...

REally beautiful post and I love the intersection of salt and sweet water.

vivien said...

lovely Jeanette and a great idea :>)

I looked into following our local river to the sea a while ago but it's just too short! rises in our county and joins another at the county edge - so I started my waterways project instead that looks at all the local water - rivers, streams,canals, ponds, quarries etc etc

I'd really fancied doing a source to sea project :>(