By: Laura Russell July, 2021
A reflection after the most recorded rain in Concord’s history
When we first moved to our place nestled between the Mink Hills and the Warner River, we loved hearing what we thought was the noisy sound of the river after rainstorms. But we could not figure out why the river was so noisy even several days after the rain had stopped. One afternoon when we stood in the middle of our meadow, we realized that it was not actually the river that was so noisy. It was all the little streams still bringing water down from the top of the Minks and echoing in the valley.
When we explored the sources of these streams, we observed that some of these streams flow down the hills in an organized fashion following "proper stream protocols," and other streams do just what they want when they want. We then discovered that at the bottom of this section of the Minks these many streams arrive at several locations at the land we have the privilege of stewarding.
At this point, both the organized and the free-flowing streams pass through three zones in the river buffer area. First they sprawl through a young forest of trees that don’t mind “getting their feet wet”: red maples, poplar trees, and even some apple trees. Then they break out into a meadow, sluicing in countless paths through grasses, rushes, goldenrod, Joe Pye weed, meadow sweet, and young alders. These disorganized streams then merge and flow into a riparian zone, passing through the roots of winterberry, blueberry, wild raisin, several varieties of ferns, and yes, poison ivy. And, finally, now having become a creek that is hidden by brush too dense for a human to walk through, this larger stream unceremoniously gurgles or rushes, depending on the conditions, into the Warner River.
The varied landscapes that these streams pass through remind us of how the water and land are so deeply interconnected. The water provides sustenance to the land and creatures, and the different terrestrial habitats serve to both filter and slow down the force of the water. Although many have said that the journey is more important than the destination, in this instance, the journey of these streams creates the destination.
Thanks to Jen Drociak for information from her DES publication: A Field Guide to Common Aquatic and Riparian Plants of New Hampshire