Water, Water, Everywhere…


Walking on the beach for the first time this year, I’m thinking of water. Not just about the waves that are cresting toward the shore or about the rain that fell all last night but about water in general… life giving, indispensable, wonderful water.

What would we do without water? What could we do without water? It’s around us, it’s inside us (it’s said that about 6o% of our bodies is made up of water and I’ve heard that our brains are made up of about 70% of the same substance!). Water is in the air, on and in the ground, and a good thing, too, since life on earth wouldn’t have had a chance without it.

Barren desert sand…

Here was once a great ocean,

And life was teeming.

So many poets have written about water. “Roll on, thou deep, dark ocean, roll,” exhorted Byron, while Langston Hughes spoke of rivers dusky and ancient. Then there is that much quoted Basho poem about the frog at an ancient pond and the sound he makes as he dives in, and a less known but elegant haiku by another master:

The pond and the river

Have become one

In the spring rain.


Legends have grown up around water, too… mermaids and nixes and water goblins and sprites inhabit folktales and in real life Ponce de Leon really did try to find the fountain of youth. Books have been written around water: David MacPhail’s Water Boy, and Judith Andersen’s Once There Was a Raindrop, Tauk Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt and the many passages in Tolkien’s Ring trilogy (who could forget old Tom Bombadil?)  to name a very few.

Some scientists have theorized that water came to our earth by way of a comet made of ice, and astrophysics are now studying the other inhabitants in our solar system for signs of water—and the possibility of life. Even our moon is said to have deep-buried pockets of water! Mars, that now-dead planet, was once thought to have had some as well, while Jupiter’s moon, Europa, has a very thick aqueous outer layer. And further on? It stands to reason that some intergalactic neighbor harbors this precious substance. Think of it…

This drop of water

 may have traveled for light years

to touch my dry lips!

So I think about water as I walk along the beach—stopping for a moment to return a stranded starfish to the life-giving sea.

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About Maureen C. Wartski

I’m Maureen Wartski, writer, artist, wife, mother, grandmother; you can see that I have many of the bases covered. I was born in Ashiya, Japan, a (then) small town which lay cradled between sea and mountains. In the evenings, we would walk along the road that ran past Osaka Bay, and a great moon would rise out of the water to turn the world to silver. I’m told that my first words were, “Big moon!” All my life I have felt the tug to write something, draw something, put together something with fabric, string and color, and the urge to create has grown through the years. I suppose, then, that it’s a natural thing that this blog be full of the things that so many of you enjoy doing…drawing, making something with fabric, and writing. Yuri's Brush with Magic, my newest book for middle schoolers follows the adventures of a brother and sister, the magic of words, and the incredible magic of the natural world. I'd love to hear from you! You can send me a note at: maureen@wartski.org/ My blog is here: https://maureenwartski.wordpress.com/ Or friend me on Facebook!

11 responses »

    • Thank you, Linda… Emerald Isle really is quite beautiful. Over the years our beach has slowly eroded, though… we used to have lots and lots of sand. Now, alas, the ocean is re-claiming what, I suppose, has always belonged to it! Still, walking on the beach is therapeutic… 🙂

  1. HI Maureen,
    The blog is such a perfect format for you to combine your many talents. I love the way you have started from the very moment you are in, on the water’s edge ,and moved on to reflect on water, it’s centrality in our lives, the science of it, the poetry, and the ..metaphysics of water. Write on, dear friend.
    Love, Sue

    • Oh, Sue, you gladden my heart. Actually, after writing the post, I started to read the old haiku masters… they really did write a lot about water! I imagine that’s because this element offers so much… life, serenity, contemplation… and storm, too!

  2. The significance of water permeates so much of world events and the lives of people and animals too. Book Club has read more than one book with water in its title. “The Weight of Water” for one comes to mind. I love your references to nature in every form; and the haiku, whether of masters or your own;, are just the right touch to keep us centered on themes of life and sustenance. Thanks Maureen. Love Fran

  3. Thanks for this beautiful expose on the water. I especially appreciated the reference to the old Haiku masters. Lovely.

  4. Thank you, Linda! I love the old masters’ work,too. Basho is well known, but some of the others are rarely quoted,,, and they are so wonderful. I think haiku has an innate spare elegance that I aspire to find in my own work… someday.

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