Gathering around the water hole to share each other’s thirst must be as old as time itself; nearly all communal creatures do it, from willows crowding the river’s edge, to ants at a strip of spilled water on a baking pavement, giraffes and elephants stepping to the swamp’s edge, to moose at the forest boundary and brown bears swiping for salmon. Water is life and water is the common denominator. We humans have perfected the art of carrying the water off and slaking our thirst in relative safety.
From a jet plane the Earth sits under the hard mirror of the sky. The Sun glares down, its one unblinking eye pitiless with power, seeing all, the vast film of water, air and rock. Indifference beats upon any harborer of precious fluids, hissing admonishments to turn tail and burrow into the nearest cleft. To a watcher in space the blue marble of the planet might at first seem stillborn, but if it watches carefully the swirling surface would give away the secret: like milk roiling in a cup of coffee clouds belie both a boiling heart and a mind fanning the idea of regeneration. The clouds themselves would give birth, like whales in an ocean of air.