Wet and the joy of water – Lens Artists Challenge #95.

‘If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water’
Loren Eiseley

This weeks Lens Artists challenge comes from Tina at Travels and Trifles. She shared some fantastic shots of grizzly bears fishing for salmon in Alaska. I’ve decided to stay a little closer to home and show you a bit of our lovely stream.

Our yard slopes down to the bush then drops into the Karaponga Stream. When the kids were little the stream was their favourite playground. I could listen to their delighted squeals from up in the garden and know they were safe splashing, exploring and lathering mud on each other until they got cold and had to retreat to the sunny yard to warm up.

‘Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.’ Lao Tzu

The water’s never adult-warm-enough, even on the hottest summer day and I’ve never been tempted to immerse myself fully. The sun can’t penetrate through the canopy of forest giants, just sitting on the bank with my feet dangling in the water is cooling enough for me.

‘Let’s you and me, river, run down to the sea.’ Bill Staines – River


The stream constantly hisses and burbles but we don’t hear it until visitors point the sound out. It’s part of the background, like the air we breathe. We rely on it to power our house these days. The Man of the House built a waterwheel and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week it chuffs away like a steam engine and allows me to charge my car or watch my favourite TV show.

‘Water is the driving force of all nature.’  Leonardo da Vinci

Yesterday we had our very first autumn storm. Less than a month till the official start of winter, it’s very late but who knows what the weather’s up to these days. After a very dry summer and early autumn, the rain was very welcome. The stream had got lower than we’d ever seen it in our 25 years here. It was so low, we couldn’t even tempt the eels up to their usual feeding spot with a bit of leftover rabbit. Maybe climbing over the rocks is just too much effort.

‘Water is life and clean water means health.’ Audrey Hepburn

New Zealand overflows with rivers, streams and lakes that from afar look pristine but up close you can see the detrimental impact mankind continues to have on our water quality. I met the water crusader, freshwater ecologist Dr Mike Joy some years ago at an Environmental Awards event. For twenty years he has been publicly outspoken about the decline in freshwater quality and ecosystems, especially the impact of nutrient pollution from intensive dairying on New Zealand’s “100% Pure”, clean, green image.

‘There are almost two worlds in New Zealand. There is the picture-postcard world, and then there is the reality.’

His work has led to awards from scientific organisations, as well as criticism from the dairy industry and right wingers who prioritise unrestrained economic growth over our unique environment. He bears many scars gained from the years of battle but is undeterred in the fight. When it’s safe to swim in our rivers and when the life returns, we have Mike Joy to thank.


  1. This is such a great post Wendy! you live in a really special place. Love the 2nd photo especially, and also the awesome photo of the eel! Nigel came along as I was looking at them so I can say that we both really enjoyed them and especially the two I’ve mentioned!

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  2. That you don’t hear the water any more reminds me of how eventually we couldn’t smell the baking bread in the bread machine in the morning. Saddest day of my life. How wonderful that you use the power of the water.


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  3. Great post! Beautiful photos. It’s so awesome that you can use homemade hydro, I’m jealous. No running water on my land, I get catchment from the roof for most uses and haul water from a spring about 3 miles away for drinking. so glad you gave a shoutout for clean water awareness, water is life, our most precious resource..

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  4. Really like your estimation that the water is never adult-warm-enough. One of the reasons I hate to jump into lakes, streams, etc., is that the water is always frigid — or until I get used to it! Beautiful shots. Thanks!

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