Things I Learned from Plants (A Series): #2. Water is Life and Should Be Respected.


Water is party to all things, dear reader.  While all Earth-dwelling embodied lifeforms have their own characteristics, goals, needs, and expectations of their environments, water is a common necessity they all share.  Without proper hydration, the brain's receptors stop interpreting and correlating information and general organ failure occurs, plants are unable to photosynthesize, and moisture continues to evaporate from the body at a rather high rate.  Fish and other sea-dwelling creatures cannot sustain life outside of their watery habitat; they legitimately require the buoyancy and pressure found in a submerged environment and can only survive for a short time outside of it.  Often, it seems as though humanity has forgotten this. 


For the past several hundred years, there has been a trend to attempt to divorce humanity from the land--from the literal roots on which civilization stands.  Part of this is a disassociation with water and other vital natural resources. Another is how the individual human body reacts in and around natural settings.  Most know the connection between higher temperatures and increased rates of evaporation, even if they don’t call it that. As ambient heat increases, the physical body loses water mass, whether from evaporated sweat, panting, or simply through skin, as happens with amphibians and the like. Water is a necessity for all of Earth’s physically-existing lifeforms, in some manner or another, yet the Earth’s waterways are highly polluted. Whether from direct contaminants, like sewage or submarine oil spills, or indirect, like agricultural run-off, the rivers, lakes, and oceans of our planet are in dire straits. Just as blood flows through your veins and arteries, so too does water flow through the Earth and her inhabitants. Those mobile might be able to change location, slightly when habitats shift, but those stationary, like plants and rather most endangered animal species, often cannot.

Every organism has evolved to fulfill its own niche in its ecosystem, uniquely fulfilling a need in its resident habitat. Plants provide nutrition, shelter, and defense for many animal species, along with solidifying the soils and consequently keeping nutrients from washing away, especially along waterways. Just as a lack of water can cause drought and destruction, an excess of water can cause flooding and destruction. There needs be a balance maintained, and that balance is different for each ecosystem. You can’t put a cactus in a rainforest and expect it to survive any more than you can put a collar on a fish and walk it like a dog. They’ll both die, because they have particular needs, hydration-related and otherwise. It is important to keep this in mind when you’re dealing with both other beings and yourself.


Just like the plants populating green spaces the world over need adequate sunlight, nutrients, and precipitation for their respective habitats and biological imperatives, so too do humans. Think of it this way: If you have an anaphylactic response to a certain food or medication, it is to be avoided, like the plague. Or it will probably kill you, like the plague. This becomes especially difficult when dealing with polluted water sources, as H2O is, as previously stated, a necessity. Some beings, like clams (1), and certain plants can filter water * (2). Most do not have access to these abilities. Additionally, there are often microscopic parasites, bacteria, and other hazardous guests mucking about in the water supply, though most can be killed if the water is boiled prior to consumption.

The purpose of writing this is two-fold. First, it is important to be aware of the state of our planet and that she needs help, like a few decades ago. Mitigating run-off and other pollutants, pulling and using groundwater unnecessarily, and dumping hazardous materials… anywhere, really, needs to be avoided if at all possible. And if it is unavoidable in certain circumstances, things need be changed to make it possible. If surface water is a known to be problematic with trash islands floating in the mid-Pacific and other pollutants, groundwater is essentially the bone-marrow, hidden and carrying water throughout the realms. As in the film Sahara (3), underground rivers, while traditionally more stable and reliable, can also be conduits of disease when toxic substances are introduced, much like a cancer.

Second, just like our botanical relations, it is important for humans to receive proper hydration and nutrients, specific to their particular body’s requirements. This includes avoiding things that could be hazardous to a person’s health. Both literally and metaphorically, it is important to take note of the composition of substances we absorb. Toxicity is not merely a denizen of the physical world. Though it can be difficult, sometimes practicing self-care means limiting exposure to certain things, places, or people, if they have a negative impact on your overall well-being. Connect your roots to the healing waters of ancient memory, drink deeply of the cool well, and let the plants guide you to potable sources. If all else fails, boil the hell out of it. It is a lesson I’m still learning, but sometimes the only way to make yourself heard is to yell. Take care of your roots, for they are your foundation. Try to filter your water, your input, to that which is beneficial to you and aids you on your journey(s).

Water is life. It is in all Earth-dwelling lifefoms. It deserves to be respected. That includes the water content of your own being. It is in your blood, your bone, your brain, lungs, and other organs. It connects you to the land and her histories, and deserves to be respected.

Be well and know you are loved.

Till next time,