Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Wonder in a Drop of Water

Have you ever wondered about a drop of water?  You should, as the whole of human existence, all human thought and creativity, rests on a slight bend in the nature of water. 

Round your lips and gently blow on the surface of a teaspoon.  See how the water in your breath has collected on the cool metal.  Place it on the tip of your nose and let the spoon hang there.  Dip the spoon back in a glass of water and glide it smoothly across your arm.  You see, water is glue and a lubricant at the same time.  Bizarre, isn’t it?    

Lucky us, we live in a place in the universe that has water aplenty.  Our home is covered with a liquid ocean of the stuff and the air is infused with it.  Look outside on a wintry day, and you see water in all three states of matter.  The transition between ice, liquid, and gas releases or absorbs a huge amount of heat, and that energy allows water to cycle through the natural world.   The rain brings life to the land, creating our amazing earthly biosphere.

Dip a teaspoon in a glass of water.  Watch the drops of water form on the edge of the teaspoon.  Lift it and follow the drop as it makes its way down the silver metal, perhaps collecting other drops along the way.  Picture closely the curved shape of the drop on the arc of the spoon, because a bend is what it’s all about.
It just so happens that the molecule that makes up water, one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms, has a bend to it, and that makes one side a little more negative.  Like little magnets, the H2O molecules pull on each other just so, not too much and not too little; they flow together in such a way that water forms into a drop.  Without this subtle pull there would be no way for plants to draw water from the soil.  Life as we know it would not exist.

Human CreativityScoop a teaspoon of salt and stir it into your glass of water, and watch it disappear.  The power to dissolve things allows water to carry a whole bunch of chemistry within it.  So add a few other elements and we have everything that matters… the evolution of life.  You and I are an incredibly complex soup, 90% water, a little carbon, and a whole lot of chemistry. 

That water is life is evident, but it is also the ether of consciousness itself.  Dissolved salts and that little molecular bend give water excellent conductive properties.   It is the medium that carries the electrical impulses through our nervous systems, allowing us to live, love and paint the Mona Lisa.