Rice Lake, ON - Sarah Turk
My Watermark is the Waterway between Rice Lake and Lake Ontario, Ontario.
Have you ever looked back at your childhood memories revolving around a beloved watering hole and realized that your space will never hold the same significant and fun, wonderful memories for the next generation?
I experienced this when re-visiting my childhood backyard stream on October 3, 2017. I was excited to see what had transpired over the last 10 years since I had spent quality time relaxing to the sound of water steadily cascading over the small rock waterfalls and breathing in the fresh forest air. I was expecting to reminisce about my adventures jumping with the frogs, splashing in the water with my colourful rain boots, and wading in the cool water until dinner.
However, I was not able to enjoy those memories when I came upon my stream as I became instantly heartbroken. I could not relax to the faint sound of the water flowing down the stream or take in the surrounding nature because what once was a picturesque landscape had become devastating image. Instead of various fluffy four-legged friends or tiny croaking frogs or swimming water snakes or buzzing water insects, the stream looked as though it had been through a war. A war with Mother Nature.
The stream’s side banks have become eroded by torrential rainstorms and dead broken-down trees, and the wildlife has dwindled to only water insects. In most spots the water level only reached to the lower part of my ankle and the once deep knee height water barely reached my mid calf muscle. It is hard to believe what was in front of my eyes — my childhood watering hole withering away. The sad truth being that it had become this way due to our, society’s, careless actions towards our environment and our neglect to protect our waterbodies.