Small stream carves its path across the beach in Olympic Wilderness Area

The small stream formed an intricate design on the beach as the tide moved out.  I was fascinated by the pattern and how the flow of water created it and changed it. (G. Thomas Bancroft)

The small stream formed an intricate design on the beach as the tide moved out. I was fascinated by the pattern and how the flow of water created it and changed it. (G. Thomas Bancroft)

Water has always fascinated me.  How in liquid form, it is so critical for life, making up the majority of our bodies.  Ice and running water plays a major role in shaping the landscape especially here where the last glaciation covered much of northern Washington under thousands of feet of ice.  The water cycle from evaporation over the ocean to rain falling as winds carry the air across the mountains help define our ecosystem.

I was standing on Second Beach in Olympic Wilderness Area admiring how wide this beach was at low tide when I noticed a small stream crossing the sand.  I walked over to see how the water was flowing.  The stream had broadened out to this wide, very shallow flow.  It was probably 4 or 5 feet across and most was less than a half-inch deep.  One section maybe 4 or 5 inches across and about an inch deep formed a sinuous curve down the beach.  Littler side flows came off this main channel and others returned into it.  In the main channel lots of sand was rapidly drifting in the flowing water.  The thinner sheets were flowing slower and didn’t seem to have the force to carry sand particles.

After each tide, this stream will reform its path across the beach to the ocean.  My guess that each time it does this, a unique pattern will form.  Do you wonder how this is determined?  Individual water droplets randomly bounce off sand grains, shells, or rocks on the beach and head down slope.  Other water droplets follow or go in a different direction.  The way more bounce will eventually determine the course for the stream; always down slope but with much uniqueness between days.

This made me think of life and all the decisions, small and large, we make along the way that determine the course of our life.  If we had a second chance, would everything come out the same or might we react differently to the people and events that helped shape our current life and end in a different place.  Just like the stream across the sand beach, it would be unique each time.

Let me know what this photo makes you think about?

 

2 thoughts on “Small stream carves its path across the beach in Olympic Wilderness Area

  1. The pattern reminds me do a snake slithering thru the sand. Sooooo soft and muted coloring…. Beautiful

    • I like that! I stood for quite a while watching the water flow gently down the slope. In the way it was carrying sand, it did look like a moving beast. I hadn’t thought of snake at the time, I like it. Thanks

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