Today is Saturday, March 25, 2017

Why doesn't water wear out?

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At this time of the year about the only comfortable place to be, if you're outside, is in the water. With it nearly 100 degrees this early in the season, you wonder what late July and August have in store for us.

As I sat in the water enjoying the cooling effect of Old Hickory Lake, I watched the boat traffic churning up and down Spring Creek. At one time there must have been a half-dozen boats and jet skis crisscrossing the expanse of water that, before the dam was built, was only a creek wide enough to jump across, so the old-timers tell me. Now, at its narrowest point near my house, I can barely drive a golf ball across it - making it about 200 yards from the jumping rock cliff on the north to the neighbor's dock on the south.

How is it that the water that is used so much continues to perform its life-giving and recreational function? When you think of everything depending on its flow, it is really phenomenal. From the fish to the fishing worms, the lowlifes ingest it. Birds beat it up with their webbed feet. Water skiers slice it with boards. Boat propellers chop it in thousands of pieces, splashing it as spray droplets into the air. Fishermen thrash it with poles. Cliff jumpers pound it, like kneading bread.

Beneath its surface, aquatic life is creating tunnels in it in order to move. Fish dart, in what looks like instantaneous translocation, moving from the shallows to deep water when I approach. Kingfishers dive with sharp bills extended trying to catch their fleeting targets. Yet with all this churning, cutting, dicing disturbance the water holds its integrity, its true form and substance.

One would think that after a while, with so many insults, the water would simply dissolve. It would say, "That's it, I can't hold it together anymore. You have chopped me up so fine and so many times I can't put it back together. My glue bonds don't work anymore. My gliding liquid fluidity is gone. I'm too roughened up, too polluted to work."

When that happens, the sun simply evaporates the fine droplets into the heavens where they are recharged in a thunder cloud of friction and lightning. Then, just when we think it is too hot to survive, they are dropped on us again as cool, life-giving rain.

What a miracle!

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