When I was a kid, I could play with running water almost indefinitely.
Running outside I mean, over the local topography of dirt and stones. The idea is to guide it and shape it and send it where you want it to go, and enjoy the slow progress of the leading tendrils around the obstacles inexorably seeking less potential energy, and then the urgent following flow, probably discharged into a new local-minimum pool that needs Somewhere To Go.
Well, we have a snow problem. Which will be ameliorated, we hope, by warmer temperatures and the best part of 10cm of rain over the next couple of days. But only if we give the run-off Somewhere To Go.
In our case, there’s a storm drain at the downhill end of the block, five houses away. The water needs to go there. In between are large shoveled-up heaps of what was once fresh white snow, also the occasional hopelessly-buried automobile.
Thus we have invested some hours, with a loose confederation of neighbors, in fashioning a small snow-free spillway along the gutter to the drain to confer an escape route on the melt-off.
Of course, strategically-placed ditches are required in the snowpack to afford drainage for odd combinations of rain-lashed shovel-heaps and nearby local minima. When you connect one of these to the mainstream, there is both a rush of both chilly water and aesthetic pleasure.
I had to go out in the cold rain at midnight to admire once again the smooth melting-snow-flow extending a hundred yards from our uphill neighbors’ down to the roar of the corner drain.