Water flows downhill

it can flow downhill fast or slow

if it flows fast for long enough or slow for longer it will likely cut a channel

channels may be deep and narrow or shallow and wide

less often channels may be deep and wide or narrow and shallow

where channels are deep and narrow they generally flow more or less straight or at least in a definite direction that maintains itself over time

conversely where channels are wide and shallow they have a tendency to meander and or change their direction and width over relatively short periods of time

people observing water which flows down hill more or less quickly thru a channel more or less permanently will probably call that flowing a river

water which flows only intermittently or in small quantities may be called a creek

water which gathers or stays more or less in the same spot may be called a soak or a puddle

if there is sufficient water over a larger area than is easy for a person to step over or easily walk thru soaks and puddles may become ponds or lakes

ponds and lakes may also be deliberately constructed by people by forming earthen embankments or large bowls which capture water which flows falls or is pumped into them

mostly water in ponds is still whereas mostly lake water flows tho there is considerable variation and overlap between what is considered a pond and what is considered a lake tho bodies of water that would take more than 30 minutes for someone to row over would generally be considered a lake

both ponds and lakes may have creeks or rivers both running into and out of them

water in ponds and lakes may be fresh or salt or brackish

some lakes are tidal

lakes which are tidal tend be found near estuaries

puddles tend to be associated with urban or at least built environments—imagine a country road—tho they can also occur on more or less wild pathways or in the middle of a field (tho a field must also be considered a built or at least a planned environment)

the real difference between a soak and a puddle is that a puddle is generally caused by rain falling and gathering in a hollow

once the rain ceases a puddle is at the mercy of temperature and if in a built environment car wheels blocks of concrete animal hooves feet or even shit

in short a puddle is more or less temporary

tho sometimes puddles freeze over completely and hang around for a more or less long time

soaks on the other hand hang around more or less permanently

a soak will have some other source

perhaps a spring or an intermittent but ongoing connection to a river, overflow say

a soak aspires to being a billabong or anabranch or even a lake

indeed a lake

water can also seep

seeping water may be the result of water flowing downhill exceptionally slowly so that it “falls” between soil and rock until it emerges at some lower point forced out either by meeting some or a group of solid objects very hard rocks for example and finding its way thru the most permeable of these until it appears at the surface as a spring or a soak

on the other hand seeping water can continue seeping until it meets ground water

ground water is water that lies under the ground

tho it’s worth remembering that water is a difficult thing to capture cos it’s more or less continuous

unless you subject the water to some form carbon dating or similar process it’s hard to say well this water is ground water cos over time ground water may force its way to the surface or meet up with some water that has seeped from above or in some other way find itself above the ground whereon it ceases to be ground water and becomes surface water

part of a river a creek a lake—and we haven’t really considered lakes yet—a spring or a soak

but not a puddle

that is unless it’s evaporated from any of the above been taken up into the sky and then fallen as some form of precipitation hail snow rain mist fog

hail is ice

ice is one way in which water is captured, held in place

some ice is water which has been frozen for thousands of years

but let’s not talk about that