The first chemistry formula most of us learn is H2O. It is the most abundant substance on the Earth’s surface and is the most studied and contemplated chemical compound. Our planet is sometimes called “the water planet” because of this abundance. Our adult bodies are composed of an average of 57% to 65% water.We are frequently reminded to drink plenty of water in order to maintain good health.
In Nebraska, this summer and so far this autumn have been wetter than usual. So there have been more numerous thunderstorms and more days with just steady rain-showers without the storminess. Many of us have weather related websites bookmarked on our electronic devices. We use the information in order to be informed about our personal safety and to bolster our frequent small-talk about the weather.
“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”– Lao Tzu
The four ancient elements were Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The old alchemists and astrologers believed that each of these elements was responsible for aspects of life and our personalities. Specifically, water was responsible for our emotionality. The sun-signs water ruled were Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. People of those signs supposedly were more reactive than rational when responding to situations. “Water people” were more about feeling than thinking.
Regardless of our opinions about water, it is the nature of water from a scientific viewpoint that makes it a fascinating substance. We learn that water is the only “common” substance on Earth’s surface that exists as a solid, a liquid, and a gas. It is a substance with which we can safely observe these amazing states. We see rain, rivers, and something to drink. We notice steam from a pan of boiling water, vapor from our breath in the winter, and clouds in the sky. Ice appears as winter precipitation, and cubes we use to chill our beverages.
The presence of water can affect our emotions. The sound of a light rain shower or a picturesque waterfall is calming. The force of a hurricane or a flooding river overflowing its banks, is terrifying. Of course, this is to be expected from such an ubiquitous substance. These properties are worth contemplating.
Leonardo da Vinci observed, “Water is the driving force of all nature.” He was correct. Without water, Mother Nature would not exist. When we quietly contemplate the natural world, we deeply realize the presence of water in all the living things around us and within ourselves. If there was no water, there would be no trees nor crops. Without water there would be no animals nor us, ourselves.
Just because water is so abundant doesn’t mean that we should neglect and abuse it. We serve ourselves when we follow the advice of environmentalists in their aims to protect the wilderness and wildlife by safeguarding our precious supplies of air and water. There is no way this should be controversial, but somehow the environment has become a hot-button issue.
I feel grateful to live where there is plenty of fresh air and clean water. I wish everybody could live in such conditions.