The Memory of Water

Water has memory.

As Wikipedia says…

Memory is the faculty of the brain by which data or information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action.

If we just take the “brain” out of that, then it fits water pretty well. Here are two puddles in a roadway, remembering to be bodies of liquid, storing data (silt), and retaining leaves. It is not proposing to influence future action, but a lot of brain memory doesn’t do that, either, whatever Wikipedia says.

But, you know,

[1] If past events could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, relationships, or personal identity to develop.[2] Memory loss is usually described as forgetfulness or amnesia.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

That’s like saying, if past events could not be sorted, attached to surfaces or to each other, and stored, it would be impossible for soil, air, life or water to develop. After all, the reflection on the water here…

… is only possible because water remembers its molecular bonds in a certain configuration, when under certain states of temperature and pressure. Before that, it was fog, or rain, or snow, or cloud, or vapour, and remembering other configurations, under certain states of temperature and pressure. Isn’t that memory? Isn’t this the image below? Not my memory of other sumac leaves in other autumns, but water’s memory of itself.

It’s usually called “chemistry,” but that’s only a way of separating human understanding from the Earth’s forms. Let us remember that “water” is just a word for the ability of a wet, a cloud, a flow, a well or a drop to become liquid and fill a space. Water never forgets to touch other water and to change state. Memory is touch.

The birch above wouldn’t exist if water didn’t have the ability to not only touch but to join with carbon and hydrogen through their ability to hold to each other. This is not human memory, but you can walk through it, and when you brush your hand against birch twigs, what you feel is memory in the making.

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