Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Paddle-to-the-Sea ...

Click Here To Read Paddle-To-The-Sea Online!When I was young I was astonished to learn that the ocean did not drain into the rivers and lakes of the world,  but in fact the rivers and lakes flowed to the sea !  It seemed backwards to me.  The oceans are big.  It stands to reason that the bigger thing drains somewhere.  How could those small streams and rivers drain into the oceans of the world without emptying themselves ?
The reality was revealed to me by the Caldicott Medal Winning children's book "Paddle-to-the-Sea".     It is the story of a young indian boy who carves a canoe with a paddle person sitting in it.  On the bottom he put a carved note:

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"Please put me back in the water. I am Paddle-to-the-Sea."   

 Paddle begins his journey on a snowy hillside north of Lake Superior.  With the spring melt he is carried to the world's largest lake and through many, many adventures, travels through each of the Great Lakes, up the mighty St. Lawrence and eventually to the sea. 

This wonderful book, explains not only how the melting snow fills the streams, then rivers, then lakes travelling on to the sea, but it is also an entertaining description of the five Great Lakes (Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario) and their importance to the people who live on their shores.
I thought of this childhood book as I stood in my "wellies*" near a soggy cliff at Hartlen Point and watched as the sodden earth spilled water onto a path, filled the path and poured over the cliff edge to the surging ocean.

It makes me wonder, which is more amazing, the mighty ocean, or the tiny streams that fill it ? 

* "Wellies" = Wellington boots. i.e. rubber boots

The full story of Paddle-to-the-Sea and the 1966 NFB film can be found here: 

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