The Humble Water Molecule

Surrounded by water

Waves crash, with great brouhaha demanding an answer, searching blindly for something seemingly out of their grasp, until one reaches out far enough, and with a callous and flippant gesture pulls the unsuspecting object of ridicule from its foundations.

Sitting atop a wave places you in harmony with a rhythm that has been gallivanting across Earth since Comets bashed down until they splashed down. Water, it is hypothesised, was planted on our pugnacious planet, by these kamikaze visitors. That they held enough to create all the water that holds everything together and pulls everything apart, is something to marvel at, and perhaps just accept as fact. Observations show that the Asteroid Ceres, sitting belligerently between Jupiter and Mars, has as much water locked in her galley as we do. Water really is everywhere, in our cells, Saturn’s rings and coursing through our culture.

But what of each molecule. What would a journey of a molecule look like? Where would it have been? How much life, cloud, saltiness, freshness, ice, steam, energy and more would each molecule have seen?

But how does water come to be? We have recently discovered that the solar winds released by stars, like our sun, smash into oxygen rich dust and rocks hanging in space, and form water. Locally it became a necessitating factor in creating life on Earth, and in all likelihood the same story unfolds in countless other planetary systems. On those planets giant waves will likely shape the landscapes and chip away at the intelligent life trying desperately to be the champion of all it can imagine.

What once was mountain

We know that water exists across all the rocky bodies in our Solar System, in some form or other. And on a few it flows, constantly shifting the hardier of formations, and providing playgrounds for beasts of all sizes, on Earth including some that are up to 30 metres in length, immense facts of life.

When you sit upon a calm wave staring towards a hazy, yellow horizon, seeing only the rippling top of the trillions of gallons surging unendingly beneath, the cosmic madness seems distant. Perhaps a wave of 80ft is not far away, and the pressing hand of a storm will brazenly thrust wave after wave in your direction, setting a challenge to some foolhardy humanoid gladiator. With a sheet of manmade fibres and some intrepid pluck you can conquer this sometimes bellicose giant. But never forget that it is a giant, that has no fear, no love for the ridiculous ferrets scurrying around on the crunchy continents, and over 4 billion years has probably got tired and grumpy of marauding senselessly without reward.

And then you might catch a wave, ride in her belly, cutting your hand across her gaping mouth, or perhaps you’ll miss time everything and just fall off, swallowed in one gulp.




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