Table of Contents


The impossibility of water. In Boulder I once had an assignment to go sit by flowing water, sip my afternoon tea, or on a few occasions some booze, and think poetic thoughts, writing everything down in my journal. What came out of that was a puzzled and adoring fascination with water. The fascination was already there, but the assignment kicked it into gear. Long after the assignment was done I would find flowing water wherever I was and study it. I'd get my face as close as possible and try to see into it, not through it but into the water itself, to see if I could see what water really was. The more I studied the more incomprehensible water became, retreating further and further into mystery, teasing me with its impossibility. It gently, serenely baffled me, this mystery called water.

Dark brown water. My two earliest memories, both moments of spontaneous presence, involve water. Not water in the bathtub but the real thing: water out in nature, on our Louisiana hobby farm. My earliest memory introduced aging and death, and the next one opened the door to magic. Dark brown water stained with tannins was a talisman from infancy to early adulthood.

Karst. I first became fascinated with clear flowing water in Marianna. My brother Tim would take me to Spring Creek on a semiregular basis, and I loved it. Marianna is surrounded by karst features like limestone caves, sinkholes, springs, and spring runs like Spring Creek and the Wakulla River. Tallahassee and Riverhaven lie in that same karst landscape.

Tastes like water. As I've struggled and tested to find just the right diet for me, I'll sometimes have a sign, a flag to show me I'm getting closer: it'll occur to me that this tastes like water. That is a surefire sign I've found the right recipe, at least for now. Of course nothing tastes like water but water, and I dearly love the taste of water. I adore the taste of Seattle tap water. I adored the taste of Boulder tap water. Bottled water tastes dead, etiolated and meager in its little plastic coffin. In a tastes like water moment I hear the ring of truth. There's an openness, a clarity, a balance in the flavor of whatever it is, and the words that accompany that sensation are tastes like water. Tastes like water is a hallmark of quality.