The recent flooding and weather issues have brought water to the forefront for many. But how often do we really look at or think about water? Run the washing machine, take a shower, make a cup of tea, water the plants…I needed a wake up call. Saturday I caught snippets of a lecture and workshop by Jennifer Greene, the founder and director of The Water Research Institute of Blue Hill. Jennifer is a leading spokesperson on environmental concerns and the nature of water. Rather than preach, she had us play with water.
Though I had missed the prior evening’s lecture and could only catch parts of the workshop, it opened my eyes to something to which I have not given enough thought.
Water conservation is one of those issues that seems to become prominent only when there is a perceived imbalance and disruption in our routines. Water creates environments, carves mountains and monuments, and is basic to all life. Playing with water made me aware of its most intrinsic property – mobility.
The first experiment involved paper plates filled to the brim and participants were instructed to walk around the lawn without spilling the water.
Needless to say, there were many wet sleeves or worse, drips down the front of pants resembling an embarrassing accident. Jennifer then told the “walkers” to look up, take a deep breath, find their ‘center,” and walk forward again. No one spilled a drop; the water was fluid on the plates but didn’t go over the rim.
While this was highly entertaining to those watching, the real revelation was we all slowed down, tuned in to the moment and our bodies’ relationship to movement.
Next we settled inside. A table was set with large jars of water. Small bowls held diluted india ink. Tools were laid next to each place. The first project was to fill syringes with water, then expel the air and create drops. Watching the drops form, (first right-side up then upside down) and carefully noting the shape, the light, the reflections of the room, lead to fascinating observations about the elasticity of water.
We repeated the tasks with the blue inked water. Carefully letting one drop of clear water slip into the tall jars was anticlimactic. It was hard to see the impact of the drop. Repeating with the colored water was a delight.
Central to life but seldom appreciated for its artistry.
Jennifer’s description of the workshop was thus:
“Water will become ‘our teacher’ as we work to understand water’s language of movement.”