By Craig Funston
What do baths, broccoli, and beaches have in common? Well, they all have vowels. Good answer. And they’re all pretty dramatic and traumatic. Very good. (I think that comment came from a reader in Frog’s Croak, Saskatchewan).
The answer I’m looking for is, of course, they all involve “water.”
This may not be the best time to talk about the pleasures and pastimes of water, what with the worse drought in Alberta in recent history (at least my recent history). And with the drought, everything is tinder-dry, and so the forest fire situation was one of the worse on recent record.
And with forest fires, the one thing they need is—you guessed it—water. A vicious circle here: no water, then ripe conditions for forest fires, which need water, of which there is little, followed by more forest fires, and the circle gets viciouser, er, more vicious.
That’s bad, but a column on water is not all bad. Some of the happiest memories I have both as a kid and as a parent revolved around water.
As a kid, my mother could never keep me out of the water. We always spent two glorious weeks at Cultus Lake, just out of Chilliwack, BC. Everyday I was in the water. When there as no lake, there was always a pool. And when there was no pool, Lulu Island always had ditches.
(Maurice, I’m kidding: I never swam in the ditches…much).
Then as a parent,, some of my fondest memories are of those times when we would travel and end up in a motel with a pool. We always had to have a pool on those long days. I see a motel pool as a combination playground, bathtub, and babysitting service.
One of our favourite pool games was “Marco Polo.” (So the pool was also a history class, yes?)
Whoever was “it” (with eyes dutifully closed) would shout “Marco” and the rest of the family would respond with “Polo.” Theoretically, the responders would give their whereabouts away, and “it” would try to tag them—or punch them, if frustrated enough.
I was often “it,” but I swear on a stack of buoys that I never punched my kids. Maybe some hapless swimmer who got in my way, but never my own flesh and blood.
We humans are not made to live in the water, other than in a recreational way. No matter what the Darwinists propose, we did not come from some cosmic soup millions and millions of years ago.
We can enjoy water, but we generally need flippers, boats, life jackets, and other forms of floatation devices to keep from drowning. Without any of the afore-mentioned, we’re out of our element.
I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage another form of an external use of water, namely, baths and showers. I rarely have a shower myself. You might think people can smell me coming before they see me coming. Not quite, Tonto: I always have a bath…at least on certain holidays and celebrations. And job interviews.
We also can enjoy water internally, not just externally. That is, we really need to drink a lot more of it. They say eight cups a day is good for you. And good water makes great coffee, though even the best cream in the world can’t improve coffee made from tap water.
Where would we be without water to cook our vegetables in, water for washing our clothes with, or water for our lawns? Probably eating at McDonalds in stinking clothes, waiting for the raindrops to fall on our head and on our parched green space.
In or out or over or under, water is the greatest equalizer of all natural entities. It’s that one thing that is good for all ages, all colours, and all cultures. We can’t live without it yet, we can’t live with too much of it.
Too little is a desert, too much is a flood. Harnessed, it produces power; unharnessed, it creates incalculable damage in its pathway.
I’ve got more to write about, but there’s a birthday coming up, so you know what I have to do.
And “Marco” to you.