All the Secrets of All the Oceans


If there is magic on this planet,
it is contained in water.

~ Loren Eiseley ~

A woman who became friends with my late wife while they both attended graduate school at the University of Texas has long predicted the greatest threat to humankind is the scarcity of readily available potable water. I have agreed with her all along, though I haven’t been nearly as vocal as she. Recent events are proving Geraldine right. People who have been paying attention will have noticed that the U.S. government, on August 16, 2021, announced a water shortage declaration (its first-ever) for the Colorado River, triggering future cuts in the amount of water states will be allowed to draw from the river. Arizona farmers will be the biggest losers of water as restrictions kick in. Arizona and Nevada, along with deliveries to Mexico, will see water supplies sharply reduced in January next year. California has not been targeted for big cuts, yet, but the likelihood is high that cuts are coming to that state, as well. I read an assessment that suggests California will see cuts in 2023 as water levels in Lake Mead drop ever lower. The current cuts were prompted by the fact that Lake Mead will be at less than 40% of capacity by the end of this year (its lowest since the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1936.  And I suspect concern about water shortages, always on the horizon for New Mexico, will grow exponentially in the coming months and years.

Nothing is softer or more flexible
than water, yet nothing can resist it.

~ Lao Tzu ~

Pandemics can sicken and kill millions. Water shortages can reduce economies to rubble and kill many, many more millions. We squabble about masks and vaccines as aquifers dry up and lakes turn to dust and golf courses and lush lawns take precedence over drinking water and “breadbasket” crops. And news about LeBron James matters. Really?



  • Thanks to my IC paying attention, I got my third Moderna vaccine injection yesterday; some say it is a booster, some don’t.
  • Simultaneously, I received a flu vaccine yesterday, the earliest I’ve ever received one in preparation for the upcoming flu “season.”
  • Yesterday’s hope for installation of a mini-split to heat and cool the “sky room” were dashed, for the time being. Installers showed, but the unit they brought was too big; we’ll have to wait for a properly-sized unit, which could be weeks, months, or longer.
  • Completion of the renovation of the screen porch is nearing; it was to have been finished last Monday, but time has a way of stretching in on itself. Patience, Grasshopper.
  • I screamed in pain a few hours ago as leg cramps returned with a vengeance. The real pain coincided with pain in a dream as I was conversing with Janet, Patty, and a familiar but unknown woman about health challenges of  representatives of Allied Member companies of an association I once managed.
  • In connection with the pain of my leg cramps, my IC reminded me I should drink more water all during every day.


In one drop of water are found
all the secrets of all the oceans.

~ Kahlil Gibran ~


It probably will surprise almost everyone who has ever known me to learn that I have, off and on, seriously considered abandoning the life I was brought up to cherish in favor of the life of an ascetic. Oh, I’ve written about it before, but I suspect most people who noticed my stream-of-consciousness drivel think I was kidding. I was not. It’s not that I think asceticism has any innate appeal in and of itself. Instead, I think asceticism is a tool with which modern humans can distance themselves from all things artificial, including artificial ideas and artificial emotions. I am intrigued by the prospect of learning what life is actually all about in the absence of material things and thoughts. In my way of thinking, the absence of the artifice of society might enable a person to absorb wisdom by way of interacting with nature in its purest forms.

But I think it’s too late now. I doubt I could ever muster the discipline to be an ascetic. I have grown  too reliant on having the world delivered to me on a custom platter. I am too much like too many; a soft, pliable, malleable assemblage of wants and desires that outweigh needs…so much so that needs and wants can hardly be distinguished from one another.

A friend who calls herself something of a “prepper” is probably far better equipped than I to successfully live an ascetic life, though I suspect that lifestyle is not on her top ten list of things to experience.  People who pay attention to their environment and who prepare for how they might react if that environment changes dramatically are better prepared to deal with massive change, I think, than people like me: people whose reaction to needs is to pull out a credit card or explore the part of the billfold that contains paper money. I don’t necessarily find people like me contemptible, but neither do I find them especially good role models.

That’s enough introspective disappointment for today. Perhaps I can go out in the world and do something of which I can be rightfully proud. Like express heartfelt appreciation to the oceans and to the clouds that bring rain.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to All the Secrets of All the Oceans

  1. Deanna, I wish I could say I disagree with you, but I don’t. I, too, think it’s too late. But that doesn’t mean we should give up trying. I like your FB post, quoting Anne Marie Bonneau saying, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need million of people doing it imperfectly.”

  2. Deanna says:

    Among the other changes we need to make during this period of climate change is to stop thinking that we have to buy fresh produce in the winter, whether grown domestically or transported thousand of miles from other countries. It’s long been an insanity, to me, that we are drying up our underground aquifers in the West to grow lettuce in the desert or provide water to golf courses or grains to feed livestock. Water is indeed life. We all die in 3 days without it. Living near a lake was number one on my list of home desirables; not for the view but for the accessibility in emergency times. Mother Earth is tired of waiting for us to wake up. She’s flexing her muscles now and is preparing to take over if we don’t stop violating her. Personally, I think it’s too late. I have no faith in man/womankind to make the right choices.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.