Water water everywhere
We are pulling out of Circular Quay.
We’re on a ferry, surrounded by water. My 19-month-old nephew, Edison, loves water.
‘Water. Water water water water.’
Reversing manoeuvres complete, the ferry’s engines roar up to power, and from our bench on the stern we see a froth of wake surge out behind us.
‘Wowww,’ says Edison.
Today we’re going to the zoo. My brother’s in town, and we’re going to see the animals. Giraffes, elephants, frogs, birds, seals, penguins.
We stare deeply into the eyes of a tiger not two metres away through the glass, who watches us with what seems like endless patience and intelligence. We watch a mother gorilla swing her baby up onto her back, as beside me Edison rides on my brother’s shoulders.
The thing Edison loves the most, though, is water. Water. The chimpanzees are nowhere to be seen, but there is an excellent creek running through their enclosure. The seals are fast and eerily human, but what they swim in is entirely more fascinating.
Under this grate in the path, right here beneath our feet, something we would have missed entirely if it hadn’t been pointed out to us: water.
I find myself projecting onto my nephew as I have been projecting onto the animals all day. Is it the sound of the word he loves? Is it the shape of the word in his mouth, so new to language? Is it that he can see what we have become blasé about, which is that water is the most basic, the most fundamental aspect of all life on this planet? Or does he just genuinely love water?
I’m not quite sure why I’m telling you all this. It’s tempting to draw writerly conclusions, of course, in line with what I’ve been saying here all month. Look for the thing that you really care about; write about what moves you; don’t be afraid to be passionate in your expression.
But maybe it just is what it is.