Thames River, ON - Lindsay Telfer

My Watermark is Thames River, Ontario.

When I think back to my past and how water has influenced my life, it really starts with the Thames River. I grew up in and around the St. Marys area, just north of London. Our house was immediately across the street from the Thames River so I grew up exploring the river, its shore, and my community from the time I was six years old. Given that this river ran through the town that I grew up in as a young child, it represents a lot of my first experiences with water.

As young children, we were allowed to wander a little bit. This wandering that we were allowed points to a huge change in our culture at the moment, but for us at the time in 1982, life was all about exploring the banks of the river. My friends and I used to spend hours upon hours exploring the shores of the Thames River. We’d be lifting rocks and exploring the banks of the river in search of water creatures. Crayfish, specifically, was what monopolized a lot our time. Maybe it was because they hid that we had such fun searching for them.

I just remember really clearly spending hours with my friends - my brother was often along our side as well - looking for crayfish and stumbling upon whatever else we could find such as arrowheads. We used to collect those. Arrowheads and crayfish.

Catfish were also very prominent in that stretch of river. It was always exciting when we saw a big catfish or carp. Of course, carp were prominent as well. So, in our explorations you would see tons of different wildlife. I think it would be huge if my daughters experienced that growing up.

It is also because of the Thames River that I always identify with the great blue heron as my birth species. They are very common on that stretch of the Thames River and from a distance you would see them perched in the river as we were searching. So, we just would spend days there on the river. I mean, people would say that we would be out exploring the banks of the river looking for whatever we could find - normally crayfish and arrowheads- which is probably why those details are so distinct in my mind.

And so, the river really did - unbeknownst to me at the time - have an impact on me; it represents the importance of those experiences in one’s life. I think now, if I hadn’t had those experiences, how would it have changed my own appreciation of water?

Thames River, ON
Claire Lawson
Lindsay Telfer

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