“I suspected it, I just didn’t know it.”
Early in the week we had a much-needed rain. This was a good thing as the lakes were low and the gardenias dry. The kittens entertained themselves by running up and down the porches sounding like a herd of elephants. Sam sat in his corner of the couch texting messages and pictures of the fish he and Nate caught the day before.
I slid in beside Sam and picked up the book he was reading, The New York Times bestseller “How to Read Water-Clues and Patterns” by Tristan Gooley. It was hard to believe a book on reading water could be a bestseller. I flipped open to the chapter on puddles.
“The puddles’ downfall lies in its humility. There it sits, low down and apparently motionless, meekly refusing to seek our attention.”
I nudged Sam. “Tell me about when you fished in puddles.”
“Huh?” Sam continued to text.
“You know, when you fished in the water puddles.”
“Oh, I tied a kite string on a stick.”
“What did you use for bait?”
“Huh? Oh, I didn’t have any. I just pretended to fish.”
“How old were you?”
Sam was engrossed in texting fish tales so I returned to the puddles.
“Every puddle is a sign that the water has been blocked, stopped from traveling down through the ground. So if a puddle is persistent, then the first thing we can deduce is the ground beneath the puddle is either not porous or it is saturated.”
Then I got to the part about why we have road puddles. “Roads are designed with a camber so that the water flows from the center to the edge of the road, precisely to avoid puddles in the middle of the road. This water then collects at the edge of the road and should continue to flow gently downhill into a drain. But time has a tendency to warp and buckle the neat plans of road builders, and very often we find that this smooth line from the center of the road, all the way to the drain, gets bumped, bent, and dented by cars, people, and ice, [drought] to name a few … Whenever roads are dug up, for repairs or to lay cables, the road is sealed over, but nearly always with a material that is different from the one originally used to build the road. Over time this will swell and contract at a rate different from the rest of the road, and it is very common to find a puddle at the join of the old tarmac to the new.”
This was interesting stuff. Gooley continues, “From obvious observations, small insights can blossom.”
There are actually six kinds of puddles: the Low Point puddles, the Tracker and the Navigator puddles, the Overhang, Spring and Seismometer puddles.
Gooley suggests, “The next time you are walking along a country path and you find a puddle … pause to see if you can solve the puzzle as to why it is there.”
“Even the print of a rabbit can cause a small puddle.”
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