We think of watersheds as intricate networks of rivers, streams, and creeks that converge towards a single point. Thinking about my research and the ecological relationships that make up a watershed, I’ve come to realize that this image doesn’t really tell the whole story.
It’s better to think of a watershed as an inundation – a flow of water through the landscape rather than across it. Instead of a network, it’s better to think of molecular condensations percolating through the soil, coalescing gradually to form into the rivers and streams we usually think of when we imagine a watershed. The mud in your back yard is as much a part of the watershed as is the creek that runs through the woods or the river that cuts through town.
Now, thinking metaphorically, I wonder how it would change our framing of social relationships to think in terms of these molecular condensations. How would our lives be different if we considered ourselves part of the mud rather than nodes in a network of relations?
It’s just a thought – something I might explore more later…