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Reflections on Water

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A shape-shifting water creature—or “NTI,” non-terrestrial intelligence—mimicking the human faces of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Ed Harris in James Cameron’s 1989 sci-fi film The Abyss.

Ever stop to think how amazing water is? It flows when warm, rises when hot, and holds its shape when cold. It waters your garden for free. It generously bore the Titanic for miles, and then clawed a gash in its ribs before covering its lifeless hull like an eternal blanket.

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Do you suppose James Cameron has a thing for water? …

Water quenches your thirst when it flows through your esophagus; your life when through your windpipe. And yet it is the very essence of your person—you are made of water, and just a few fistfuls of minerals.

It is the essence of life itself. Water is life.

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… Yes, I’d say he does.

How can this magical substance be so abundant? How can it just be there for the taking? I’m not one to cotton to mystical thinking, but I can’t help but notice water is like every enchanted potion you ever read about in stories. It heals, it kills. When water makes house in grapes, it makes people fall in love after the grapes have fermented. It makes a child scream with delight when it bobs the beach ball up and down, up and down. Water has fun.

Dali Atomicus by photographer Philippe Halsman, 1948

It gives life, it takes away. It lays waste to cities, yet those cities keep cozying up to water’s edges, like a sleepy dog’s trusting muzzle on his owner’s familiar lap.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai

I suppose it was inevitable, the many faces of water. It’s not as though water was made for us. After all, it was here before us, and we sprang from it, even as it springs from the earth.

Still, I like to think of water as a gift. One to receive gracefully, respectfully. Maybe even prayerfully.

Or maybe it’s best when taken nearly for granted. Maybe water prefers to labor in obscurity.

The glass is full.

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Photo by ryry9379 on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryry9379/3876080319/

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