Tannins and lake water…

Many lakes, ponds and streams are affected by the tannins present in leaves and wood that find their way into these bodies of water.  Since I was never a chemistry student, I won’t bore you with scientific information but the tannins cause the water to have a dark color.  To me this makes these bodies of water all the more inviting and mysterious.  There are times when I’m at the lake and the water looks almost black in color.  This, of course, spawns ideas in my head…’nuff said.

A couple of years ago I was in the Adirondacks next to a stream that was rushing down some rock formations.  The color of the water and the foam from the rapids made me think of a lovely, cold Guiness.  I christened the place “Guiness Falls.”  It was very inviting on a hot afternoon and I would have loved to jump right in.

I don’t think we give too much thought to what is in our lakes, streams and rivers.  But it’s the natural cycle of nature.  Stuff falls in, rots and becomes part of the body of water’s ecosystem.  Tannins give such interesting hues to bodies of water but they also have a helpful quality.  They are an astringent and I’ve heard that if stung by a bee, or other type of stinging insect, one can chew some bark from a twig or nearby tree and then apply the masticated paste to the bite/sting.  It draws the venom and lessens the discomfort.  The next time I’m stung I’ll put it to the test.  Hopefully that won’t be anytime soon.

Tannins exist in wine and tea.  If you’ve ever put the wet tea bags on those puffy eyes, you know they work…now you know why.  They draw the excess fluid and relieve the puffiness.  I’m not a wine drinker so I cannot attest to those properties.

So the next time you look at a body of water that is brownish or dark in color, you can initiate a conversation that will make you look brilliant in the eyes of your peers!


About thequarryschild

A self-described forensic junkie, Beth Anderson spends her days shaping young minds to ask critical questions and wonder “whodunit.” Beth resides in the Capital District of New York and spends her free time reading and solving the great mysteries. Her love of swimming, tennis and sports provides the basis for one of the lead characters in her new book The Quarry’s Child. Beth is one of the founding members of the Upper Hudson Valley Chapter of Sisters in Crime (aka Mavens of Mayhem), a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, a survivor of a visit to an active aircraft carrier while it was at sea, and a published poet in Soundings, a literary journal. Beth continues to instill a love for mystery fiction in her students as she has for over twenty years. Photo credit: Quinn Mulvey
This entry was posted in hardwoods, summer, swimming, tannins, the Northeast, water and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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