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Walking on Water Illustration by Maia Grecco .

Walking on Water

Streams gushed freely through cities­—until they were seen as a nuisance. Now, we need them back.

In the old house in Victoria where I used to live, there was a mysterious, soup-can-sized hole in one corner of the basement. Covered by a saucer-shaped metal lid, it descended through the cement floor to an indiscernible depth. 

Most of the time I paid it no attention, but during heavy rains, a gurgling voice would call out from the dark cavity. The harder the rain, the more insistent the clamour, and if it poured for long enough, water would rise to where I could see light glinting off its surface when I lifted the lid to anxiously check the level. Although it only reached the top and spilled out into the room a couple of times during my twenty-seven years there, the boisterous monologue never let me forget about the possibility of flooding.

Last fall, my partner and I sold the place and moved to another part of the ...

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