Kathy and I were sitting on a dock last night here in Harbor Ridge having one more vodka and tonic before we set sail for Denver on Saturday. I refrained from doing my Otis Redding thing but we were watching “time drift away”. We have decided to call this place home and one of the major reasons was right in front of us. Water is magical, serene, tempestuous and soul replenishing, all rolled into one.
We have been on oceans, rivers, lakes, streams and ponds all over these United States and for that matter the world. H2o makes up around 70% of the Big Blue Marble’s surface. Oceans are the grist for cruise ship and battleships. They connect our countries and our peoples as massive Panamex freighters carry 5,000 containers with newer ones going up to 13,000. Cruise lines have exploded with up to 5,000 passengers on some vessels. The whimsical tramp steamer is probably still in existence but the public has demanded and gotten more.
The sunrises over the Atlantic are bookended by sunsets in Hawaii. I used to love the 4-8 watch while in the Navy. Slowly you see the distant rays of light creeping across a blackened sky and you watch the miracle of the day coming to life. A new day and a new beginning for all of us even though this light show has taken place without fail for billions of years. The sea is a canvas on which that golden orb paints her masterpiece with a palate of colors man cannot duplicate.
Water can be your friend providing the essence of life. We are elated by the possibility of it being on Mars and yet we do such a lousy job sometimes of protecting it here on earth. New York City has three “honey boats” that used to take sludge from wastewater treatment plants and dump it at sea 24/7 until the early 90’s. Public furor and environmentalists put an end to that but the remnants of decades still exist in the briny deep just off the Jersey Shore.
We have dumped chemicals and raw sewage into streams and rivulets world wide. The discarded waste of manufacturing and the tailings of mines throughout the West have invaded our wells and aquifers. Why does it take the outcry of environmentalists to bring these cities and companies to task for their totally irresponsible behavior? You cannot pour arsenic and sewage into your local stream without knowing it while fending off criticism by saying it is the only way. The Hooker Chemical Company did just that at the Love Canal in upstate New York. This was the beginning of Superfund sites that are now throughout our land and yes which you and I are picking up the tab for.
On land we have water parks and water features. Our beaches can be on coastlines or inland at large ponds and lakes. Waterfalls can be majestic like Niagara or just the melting snow coming off a rock crag in the Vail corridor. There are man made reservoirs aplenty to try and capture it for later use. The newly minted lakes are places of recreation for boaters and fishermen. The dams that hold back the rising tides also provide a cheap and incredibly sustainable form of energy but are not without controversy. As with all of man’s actions they have unexpected results. Dikes break after 500 year storms drench the area. Salmon can’t run upstream. Droughts occur and we pray to our God for rain. If you do this Lord it will never happen again.Of course it will.
As with most things we don’t realize how great it is until it is in short supply. We brush our teeth or shave with the faucet running full bore. 15 minute showers are something we are owed after a good workout or hard day’s work. Gotta keep the lawn green or build another golf course in the desert. I am not exactly saying that is wrong but do we ever stop and think of the consequences. A friend got back from his winter in the desert and told me how perfect it was. Not a drop of rain for four months. Played golf every day. See what I mean?
I constantly wonder why we don’t establish water management and storage as a priority? Why don’t we explore our oceans instead of outer space? Malaysia flight 370 was lost somewhere with 240 people aboard. One of the major problems in the search for the plane was a lack of knowledge of the seabed over a vast ocean. In the Pacific there are trenches that are up to 35,000 feet deep. THAT IS THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND! We really have very little knowledge of what is down there and yet we seek new frontiers. I guess it is that focus and priorities thing again.
Water creates ecosystems which are exceptionally complex and diverse. There is a logic to them as one part begets the other. For millennia survival has depended on that grid working efficiently. This isn’t tree hugging. It is a fact of life. Dunes and foliage protect our shores. Rain forests clean our atmosphere. Swamps and bayous are nature’s vacuum cleaners. Yet in the name of progress we say to hell with nature. I am not saying stop but should we really be saying, just stop for a moment?
It is hard to figure whether man has said to hell with it or just didn’t know better? Probably a little of both. We have overfished our seas to the point of extinction in the name of feeding a burgeoning planet. Yet at the same time there is a surplus of wheat or milk or beef here in the US. We have people catching sharks and killing them for one small part…fins for shark fin soup. Ditto turtles and dolphins and Ahi tuna. Will we ever learn?
Yes, our reverie on the water causes me to think about all of this. We look forward to even more of it when we move. Many days and nights with new ventures. I will try to keep you up to date from time to time. In the meantime there is a lot around you that is beyond simple and doesn’t cost a dime to enjoy. Don’t take it for granted.
Ted The Great
Fresh water(non salinated and drinkable) is only 3% of the world’s water. By glaciers and polar ice melt some of the water we drink could be from the time of the dinosaurs. There is the same amount of water today as there was a million years ago.
The average faucet flows at two gallons per minute. Think of that when you are brushing. At one drop per second a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons per year. Household leaks of water total over a trillion gallons per year nationwide.
70% of our bodies are made up of water. 75% of our brains are water. 75% of living trees are made up water. I am not sure what conclusions to derive but i thought it was a cool fact.
A good friend,Kathy Heskin wrote to tell me of water walkers. These are Anishinaabe tribal women who are walking day and night along the US/Canadian to make people aware of water and just how precious it is. They are having a call in on May 20 to connect people throughout the world. Contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org