Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016 - Living Water


While it’s still snowing up in northern Maine, here on the midcoast water is flowing everywhere in torrents from the ice and snow melting along with a considerable amount of rain.  The Earth is swollen with water right now.  In the summer, you’ll barely see a trickle of water in this spot, like so many “seasonal” water spots in Maine. 

Years ago when I lived up near the Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor, you would swear it was not the same stream in summer as it was in spring.  It was so swollen and gushing with water that an annual canoe race was held in it every year (and still is), and only the most skilled whitewater paddlers dared to attempt the race.  Many ended up stranded on the side of the stream somewhere, often with their canoe damaged.  Then summer came, and the water would get so low that it often was barely more than a few inches deep, with a current so lazy, it was almost nonexistent.  You would just swear it was not the same stream, but it was.

Bold, beautiful, fresh living water.

The photo shows a secret spot I like to go to, and I will confess right now that I did sample some of that nice cold water.  I’m still alive to tell the tale, as I am every year!  The experts tell us that we should never do that, and while I agree in theory, once you have tasted truly fresh water, you want nothing else to drink.  Nothing will satisfy you, not even the most expensive of “designer waters” on the market.  They all taste flat and dead in comparison.  Once you drink “living water,” you will crave it for the rest of your life.

About 20 years or so ago, I used to drink nothing but spring water from a place called Witch Spring.  It was an underground spring with two pipes that led out into the open.  The water just continually poured from it down into a drainage grate that led to the river.  All the townspeople would come and get their water there.  We would bring empty gallon containers and fill up as many as we could.  It usually dried up by August, but come fall the wonderful water would be back.  Everyone loved that water!  It was the best ever.

Then the authorities decided to save us from ourselves.  They damned up the outlet, and for a long time water burst from the most unusual places around where the pipes used to be and flooded everything.  But eventually, they were able to stop it completely.  Now not many people even remember that there was free spring water available there.  I drive by the place now and then.  It looks like a ghost town.  I still remember the old days when the water was free and delicious, and in my mind I still see the people coming and going with their jugs.

But we needed saving, you see, and save us they did.  Our water bills went up considerably, by sheer coincidence, at the same time the spring was damned up.  No amount of protest mattered.  In the end, access to the spring was removed for good.  How I’d like to find a way back in!

Yes, I know, they say drinking water from a natural source can be dangerous, but an underground spring is the safest of all.  It’s just this craving you get for the living water.  Once you’ve had it, you can’t think of anything else when you’re thirsty.  Nothing can satisfy you.  Nothing else will do. 

In life, the best things always involve risks.  Some of us take them and some of us don’t.  I say it’s worth the gamble.

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