Much of the magic that I get out of my walks and bike rides throughout the Cove comes from the element of ‘discovery’.   The surprise and wonder that defines the feeling of stumbling upon a completely unexpected finding supports the joy and the incentive to continue searching and exploring the wonderful corner of the Earth that we are lucky enough to refer to as ‘home’!
When such a discovery is accompanied by the element of water, whether it be in a pond or lazily traveling the course of a brook, a creek or a stream, the magic takes on another delightful aspect: there is something about the sound and the vision of water hiding away in the forest that brings in a bit of the secret ‘wizardry’ of a place.  And, strolling the cove certainly provides us with so many of these amazing findings!
First off, to get a little bit of the jargon in order.  Rivers and streams flow to the ocean.  A stream is a running body of water that finds itself confined to a ‘channel’ and moves downhill under the influence of gravity, while a river is basically a large stream. A fun fact is that streams can flow underground (we have many of these here in The Cove!)  A brook is a small stream, swiftly flowing in a rugged terrain.   A creek is an ‘in-between’ stream that carries water to a river.  
Now, all of these classifications can be a bit confusing and we mustn’t let that stand in the way of the important essence of these bodies of water.  For they are fascinating to watch, and can be extremely mesmerizing, and following them through the woods often leads to so many side-discoveries of nature that are truly amazing to observe.  We might find logs fallen over the running water, creating a bridge for many animals. We find nests built alongside the streams/brooks/creeks, often filled with newborn inhabitants of that neck of the woods.  
The streams and creeks in our area serve an important role in our associated wetlands.   They are key to providing critical habitat, food and shelter for waterfowl, fish and other aquatic species.  The also help to filter pollutants, make less severe any damage from floods and can be a source of drinking water.   
But, most importantly to me on my travels is the comforting feeling that the proverbial ‘babbling brook’ brings to my peace-of-mind. Thinking about ‘where is it coming from’ and ‘where is it going to’ can open up a whole world of imagined topics that become inspiring and exciting.  
Next month, we examine another type of hidden aquatic gems: ponds!

Bruce Rebold, a 41-year resident of Oyster Bay Cove, was a well-respected OBGYN for more than 28 years until a medical condition forced him into early retirement. Now he enjoys another one of his greatest passions, acting, along with spending time with family and friends and, of course ... walking!