7 days of gratitude for water in Appalachia

Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

The Earth is a container for water. About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Surface waters include the oceans, rivers and streams, lakes, and reservoirs. And water is found below land surface as soil moisture. Groundwater flows through aquifers, and can feed streams. Glaciers and icecaps are storehouses for fresh water. The air contains water vapor. Water is naturally found in three forms: solid, liquid, gas — ice, water and steam.

Bodies of water are prevalent in our Appalachia region. Can we stop, reflect and express appreciation for the wondrous substance that makes life possible?

This summer, I want to revisit water at the following places and express gratitude:

Day 1: Ohio River

Day 2: Scioto River

Day 3: Roosevelt Lake, Shawnee State Forest, West Portsmouth

Day 4: Lake Vesuvius, Wayne National Forest, Ironton

Day 5: Waterfall at Hocking Hills State Park, Logan

Day 6: Lake White, Waverly

Day 7: Greenbo Lake, State Resort Park, Greenup, Ky.

The Ohio River is in the backyards of those residing close to the riverbank. How often do we drive across the bridges without giving the mighty river its due? The Ohio River is the source of drinking water for more than 3 million people. www.ohioriverfdn.org.

The Scioto River (more than 231 miles in length) is a major river in central and southern Ohio, with headwaters located in Auglaize County. Then the river flows to Columbus and southerly to Portsmouth, where it flows into the Ohio River.

Located in the Appalachian foothills near the banks of the Ohio River, Shawnee State Park is situated in the 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest. Stroll along and observe Turkey Creek and the Roosevelt Lake Spillway Bridge and Dam.

Located 6.5 miles north of Ironton is Lake Vesuvius, nestled in Wayne National Forest. Paddle a canoe and imagine the wildlife underneath the boat.

Play in the Cedar Falls or the Upper and Lower Falls at Old Man’s Cave at Hocking Hills State Park, Logan. Breathe in the air and atmosphere.

Lake White, located southwest of Waverly in Pike County, contains 337 acres of water. Pack a picnic lunch and appreciate the lake scenery. Watch the waves.

Greenbo Lake is a 181-acre reservoir positioned in the Appalachian foothills of Greenup County, Ky. Rent a boat at the marina and relish a watery experience.

Water is a liquid playground. Humans, especially kids, love to swim in pools and participate in water sports on lakes, ponds and rivers. Kids can download a cool poster about water and watch a video by NASA Space Place at www.spaceplace.nasa.gov/water/en.

Water in My Facet

World Vision estimates that about 1,000 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation and improper hygiene. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 was declared to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

During the hustle and bustle of daily life, I want to take time to be grateful for safe drinking water in my country, county and community. And in my own kitchen and bathroom facets.

Water in the Human Body

Let’s not forget gratitude for the water in our bodies. The average adult human body is 50 to 70 percent water. Every living cell in the human body needs water to function. Babies float in amniotic fluid before birth. Breast milk is more than 80 percent water. Water regulates our temperature through sweat and respiration, making us human air conditions.

And with tears, we express grief, sadness, loss — but also tears of joy, happiness and elation. Tears are visitors at births and funerals; weddings and divorces; triumphs and tragedies.

Water is the elixir of life. Let’s be grateful 365 days per year instead of 7. And let’s teach the next generation an altitude of gratitude for water.


Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.