A simple glass of water never tasted so good or satisfied so well

The water was cold and tasted of old pipes and time.  Living in the city as he did these days he appreciated a good, cold glass of water from the tap.  Everything in his city home was new and shiny.  Nothing wrong with that but there was no depth to it.  There was something about age, both his own and where he found himself in this moment that comforted him.  Ruminating on all of this as he sat on the edge of the bed and sipped from his thick plastic, water glass in the dark he felt a strange peace in this place.  He belonged.

In the city he seldom had the satisfaction of even a cool glass of water coming from the faucet.  To get to that point one had to run an inordinate amount of water, wasteful in his eyes, and then the results were rarely satisfying.  As he would stand at the sink in his city home watching and listening to the water run he would be reminded of a former pastor’s joke about the bathroom sign in a nearby town:  “Please remember to flush, Omaha needs the water.”  Bathroom humor of the literal variety aside he often felt that the product he consumed everyday had gone around the block more than once.  At barely cool it never seemed to slake one’s thirst like good old Nebraska well water.  Probably much safer, it lacked the breadth of its rural kin.  Part of that had to do not so much with the water itself but how it was produced and what it went through to get to him.

Out in the country, water was as much a product of its delivery system as the aquifer it so famously (at least around here) originated from.  The cast iron lines and copper tubing of its country cousin was no more a part of the city product than beets were a part of a desirable plate for kids.  And even though he liked things like beets and liver, having never been given the predisposition that they were yucky as a child, he still trusted his palate all these years having been removed from all three.  Taking another sip from his glass he could appreciate his father’s statement that he wanted to be able to chew his milk; the reason he steered clear of the skimmed and reduced fat varieties.  As odd as he realized it sounded, he wanted his water to have something that approximated body whether that was a slight tinge of iron or tang of copper.  He fully realized this dated him and made his affinity for it more of a reminiscence and appreciation for age he was only beginning to embrace personally.

Getting older, looking back, and winnowing down the experiences of life made him value what he’d learned and become over the years.  Removing the chaff as he seemed to do almost daily, at times left him strangely satisfied; a feeling he was embarrassed and shocked to realize was foreign to him.  Sitting in the dark of the cabin which was nearly his age by the lake that held seniority to both of them he held onto this fleeting moment of clarity.  These days as time caught up with his body it was easy to under appreciate, even oppose it.  Yet, like the glacial advance, it was as resolute and cold and sure as anything he had ever known.  In this moment the markers of his years, the scars and new deficits didn’t seem so much a frustration.  The water he drank had earned what it was just as he had.  Its flavor, all its properties, were the product of eons of process which put his barely more than a half century to shame.  He respected this water even as it discolored the tank of the cabin’s leaky toilet.  He couldn’t be sure what kind of mark he was making.  But it was 4:30 in the morning and hardly time to ponder one’s place in the universe.

He’d done that enough as a much younger man only to come up dry.  Nights and time alone brought him no closer to the meaning of it all than if he had been oblivious and his life unexamined all those years.  Perhaps at this point, for maybe just these few minutes as he sat on the edge of the bed savoring this water that had so much character, it was acceptable just to appreciate it.  It didn’t need explaining or examining.  There was no deep truth to be mined.  It was enough to know what it was that he liked.  It was enough to know where he came from.  It was enough to accept it.  These were the things he had learned.  In this moment, just as the water flowed cold from the faucet immediately, he could be what he was, what he had become.  No predisposition, no explanation, no façade was necessary.  He had earned that and it felt good.

Simple, small things really do mean a lot; perhaps more so as one gets older.  I’m only beginning to see this as one of the gifts of age but like this glass of water, it feels good.

Every week I examine life in different, sometimes small ways.  If you would like to read more at my blog click here and you will be directed to the home page.  I offer a free subscription to my blog to anyone.  Subscribing means you will receive an email on Sundays with links to the week’s posts, nothing more or less.  I don’t sell or share emails so rest assured you won’t be over run with spam.  If you would like to subscribe you can do so by clicking this or do that at the home page.