A leaf falls in the water. It does not sink. We say it “floats,” but for the leaf below that’s not really it. It’s more like it is gripped by the surface tension of the water. This a molecular effect. It is an energy effect.
Note the leaf below. This effect is even strong enough to resist the contrary energy of waves.
Nonetheless, despite this resistance, the waves push the leaf along, so the energy is transferred. Without the grip of the water to the leaf, it would pass by. In the end, the leaves are left at the edge of the water. When they dry here in the sun, the wind will soon speed them along.
Some leaves, mind you, grow under the water. They are anchored to their stems. The waves will move them around, but no further than the length of the stems allowed: the stems have stronger molecular bonds than the energy of the swells. For these leaves, surface tension is not a factor. Or at least for most of them. The uppermost leaves seem to be caught by it, anchoring it to their stems and from them to their roots, making conduits between surface tension and the lakebed. Amazing.
And here’s the beautiful balance of it all: without a broad surface, leaves would not join with this molecular effect of water. Look how the veins in the frost-damaged aspen leaves below hold every part of the leaf to the stem, and from there to the twig, the branch, the trunk and to the root and the earth, just as the water weeds above within the water. It’s just that they do it within the air.
The surface of water has another fascinating effect: when interrupted (in this case by sedges, which cut through the surface and change the waves into resistance patterns), it can hold leaves in place but also disturb many, break the surface relationship, and cause the leaves to sink, just as they would falling from a tree through air and to the soil. Turbulence you might call this: in the water tension itself (but not in the water or the air). What a fine and wondrous layer.
Here’s another effect, which comes only in wind. Here’s Big Bar Lake in storm (all these images are from Big Bar Lake, yay)…
… look at the long, parallel lines of foam that have built up at an angle slightly at odds with the direction of the wind, all regularly spaced. It’s kind of like the effect below, of sedges reflecting on the surface, and the light following the patterns of the waves. Very pretty, for one.
The waves have taken straight lines of light (and more-or-less straight sedges) and have turned them into circles, which meet and break apart, meet and break apart, and meet and break apart, not only in sequence but in repeating series, all anchored to the stems of the rushes, which, like the roots of the water plants or the trunks of the trees don’t move from place. The water tension also doesn’t move, that’s the thing. We are watching pure energy at work in all these cases.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it. Now, don’t these effects appear alive?
Look at how the waves have made a leaf of light!
It’s hard to imagine “life” without this boundary effect that molecules of water create when they meet each other. Well, not really a boundary effect. It’s a holding effect. Water holds. That is, of course, a biases observation, coming from a creature (moi) mostly water, but it’s profound nonetheless. Like the leaf that is held by the water tension, our thirst (lack of water) draws us to water, especially gathered water (which has these holding effects), which we call a læk, or a lake, or, really, a lick, and that’s what we do. We lick, and in that moment are, like the leaf floating on the swells above, one with the water, which then does, really, become us. It’s not an exaggeration. Look how this species of sedge allows the water to lay it flat, and the water tension to hold it at its greatest extension, most open to the sun.
Beautiful, eh. I hope I have helped you to see water not as a substance but as a force, and that creatures (including us) that are made from it are responding to this force. It is this force (or this series of forces) that are our habitat. It is very real. No surrogate will do. This energy cannot be separated from the water… no more than we can be separated from it. The water striders know about this.
To them, water is not even there… and yet they can’t live on their energy field without the water that generates it and holds it in place. There is a myth in Canadian culture today, that pollutants can be diluted in water, and the water can then be purified. No, water binds with the pollutants and then releases them. What does this do to their bonds? Well, if you add detergent, its bonds are stronger and the pollutants (or some of them) bind to it instead. I don’t doubt that the detergents become a pollutant as well, because they are bound to disturb the energy surface of the water molecules, and even of the læk surface itself…
…weakening them. This weakening is dangerous for us all, because it weakens all of us, and weakens our lick, and our ability to respond as a lick. We dry up and become isolated.
In other words, we lose our tongues, and our deepest speech.
It is no wonder that the waters of the Earth are in distress, and the planet is suffering interference patterns. Just ask the sedges. The thing about interference patterns is that they are new energy habitats, as the Cariboo Mint amongst the sedges below shows. There will always be creatures who bind with an energy space, as they have done, in what we call “shelter” here …
… but not all are beneficial. The Earth’s processes are not random, and they are not in any way separate from us, and never were. We know it now. That’s a start.
Loon at Dawn