The sun was bright this afternoon, blazing from the east into the sprinkler’s mist and scattering bits of color into the air like confetti. I moved the hose, angling the water at the pocket of soil in the corner of our yard that would, hopefully, soon be home to tall stalks of corn and sunflowers.
I left it running to check the vegetable garden, pulling a few wandering weeds from the beds and running a hoe through the soil. Then I pulled the second hose from the backyard, stopping to water the baskets and pots of petunias and pansies that tipped their bright petals to the sunlight. I turned the spray on the veggies, soaking the peas, the spinach shoots, the parsley, closing my eyes and letting the warmth of the air wrap me up like a housecoat.
But while I stood there, listening to the breeze and the trickle of water that dripped from the fence into pooling reservoirs in the mud, my stomach suddenly churned. I had left the water running in the kitchen.
Have you been counting? That’s three taps spilling clear, cool water from our house into the earth, the sink, the pipes.
I dropped the hose, ran around frantically twisting spigots until they were all dry. Silent.
I sat down in the shade and thought (and yes, Violet was sleeping during this extended moment of introspection). In the Galapagos, we bathed and brushed and drank with water from the roof. The rain. And only what we had been fortunate enough to collect.
I like to think of myself and a conscientious person, a lover of the earth, and relatively non-hypocritical.
As it turns out, I’m wasteful as all hell.
We live in the reality we create for ourselves, and abide by the rules we set. There are other people’s rules, but we chose to follow them or not. Our own rules are moral. They are what define who we are.
So when we break them, we feel something. Pain, maybe. Guilt. Regret.
I know, it was just water. And it was for the plants. They get thirsty, too.
But there was a lesson to be learned. Don’t squander. Or, at the very least, make sure you’re paying attention. Appreciate that elixir, Shawna, you are so carelessly, and literally, letting slip through your fingers.
Water, along with so much else in life, is precious. Finite.
A soft reminder today to take a moment for gratitude for this moment, for the sun and sky and flowers blooming in our beds. For water. After all, there may come a day that it isn’t so easy to come by.