Recent cloud cover over Lake County sets a hopeful scene for much-needed rain. Normally, our county is the recipient of around 37 inches of the elixir of life. It does a heart good to witness the greening of our hills and valleys. Then, deer, elk, and large avian species such as ravens and turkeys stand out like silhouettes amongst the greensward. With almost any amount of precipitation, the liquid that makes life on our planet possible prompts our creeks and lakes to gleam and flicker as flashes of water flow into the various coffers.
Have you considered some fascinating facts about water? The amount of water in our human bodies ranges from 60-75%. Dehydration can occur with a loss of 4%. Water is the only natural material that comes in three physical states- liquid, solid, and gas. Water’s density allows for sound to travel for long distances, something that whales make use of. Water’s elastic and sticky surface tension is responsible for lovely-looking water drops in place of a general thin film of the wet stuff. Its surface tension also permits water and dissolved substances to travel throughout a plant’s root systems and through our blood vessels.
Over 96 % of Earth’s water is held in our oceans, while 0.001 percent floats above, in our atmosphere, according to NASA. A miniscule 3.5% of our planet’s water is fresh, with most being held in glaciers and ice, as well as groundwater. NASA also reminds us that since comets are mostly water ice, it is entirely possible that comets contributed hugely to Earth’s water. I could go on and on. Okay, here’s one more interesting fact, this time from Discover Magazine: “There are an estimated 326 million trillion gallons of water on Earth.
Brian Fagan’s book entitled Elixir- A History of Water and Humankind recounts how water has figured in human history from ancient Mesopotamia to our own country’s deserts. His research reveals just how sacred and scarce water has been throughout history and how humankind’s relationship with the wet stuff has changed over thousands of years of need and use. He encourages us to use our ingenuity in order to consume less water.
In Masaru Emoto’s book The Secret Life of Water, his thought-provoking stories show how we can respect and appreciate water, which in turn may navigate us through our century’s difficulties. Of course, minding our ps and qs of individual and collective water usage is urgent, and many do heed the call to conserve by planting fewer lawns, growing native plants that require little water, etc.
Some simple examples Emoto gives that portray holding a mindful attitude towards water include viewing reflected light in nearby ponds, streams, and lakes, and while you are gazing, observe the patterns and geometric creations that appear. Then, you may be ‘transported’ to a place where you are ‘washed clean’ of worries and burdens that we all carry by being open to water’s healing properties.
Ah, water. The essence of life. It provides for us in innumerable ways; bathing us and refreshing us, while inviting us to a new appreciation as its finite presence dwindles. When the rains play over our parched county, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of kindly water as it flows and riffles, blessedly permeating our lakes and wells, along with our senses.