Finding your place inside a single glass of water
So, I was getting a glass of water last night before I went to bed. Nice glass of water with a few ice cubes. And I looked at those ice cubes and I thought about the life span of those ice cubes. You see, those ice cubes came out of my fridge, which took hours of churning and spinning or whatever the hell it does to spit out ice cubes in my glass on command. And that’s exactly what it did, giving me this nice glass of ice water.
And as I brought that glass up to my mouth, I realized that the life span of those ice cubes traces back a lot longer. Because those ice cubes were made of water pumped from miles – hundreds of miles – away. Since I live in Southern California, I could even say thousands of miles away. A rain cloud smiles on a flower somewhere in Yakima or Boise and through the magic of semi-modern engineering I’ve got ice cubes.
And not a second passed before I understood that I had no idea of scope here. And I just gave up on the ice water. Those ice cubes had come from water that went far beyond Yakima or Boise or wherever it fell as a raindrop. Because that raindrop had been collected on the other side of the world, and those water molecules predate even semi-modern engineering. They predate all of our cities. They predate anyone we’ve ever read about and anything anyone has seen. They were old when the first creature walked and that very same water was imbibed then, too.
And it passed through their bodies and it evaporated and it froze and it eroded and it shimmered and it cleaned ecosystems and it hit umbrellas and maybe just things that looked like umbrellas until it fell on that flower and took a ride to my ice maker.
Now, this is where my mind took a turn. Because once you follow that water up from the primordial goo, you also have to take it far past you. And me. That ice is going to shoot through me at a rate that would make it dizzy, if such a thing were possible. I’ll eject it in the standard way – please let our standards be equal here – and it’ll sail off to some new horizon, some distant shore, some foreign tap.
And it will outlast you and you and you. It will be around long after all of your children turn into little, old people. It will pass through no type of creature you’ve ever heard of and that will be right here on Earth. It will bathe the flesh of people we probably wouldn’t recognize who worship dieties of one type or another you’ve never heard of before, who use currency more valuable than anything you have, own technology so much better than yours it’d make you sick.
Everything will pass before and behind and beneath and all around that water until it has passed as well. And through this glass of water, we are given an incredible gift. A way to not only observe our world but to taste our world, to be a part of our world, to see our place in our world, and to partake in the miracle that is our world.
What more do you need?