Dedicated to John Scott Hannon
There are 1.67 septillion (10^21) H20 molecules in a single drop of water.
The headwaters of Ten Mile Creek burst from the snow-gorged soil between Red and Lee Mountains. Born with a kinetic momentum, individual character and pack purpose. The water molecules careen off the steep slopes like a cougar lunging towards a young fawn. Past melting snow, beds of fallen pine needles and early spring wildflowers.
Each water molecule’s hydrogen atoms bond with surrounding water molecules. The bonds are strong, but constantly shifting, breaking and reforming as the water plunges, moves and dances over the rocks, fallen logs and through the evergreen forest. Water molecules pile on top of each other in rippling shimmering sheets of translucence and frothy white beneath the blue sky above.
Each of these individual water molecules could not move on its own. Singly, they have little capacity for trajectory and direction. Their path stops at the first obstacle, be it as small as a blade of grass or grain of sand; but together they bounce, slide and ripple across everything in their path . Pulling, pushing, supporting, dunking and diving with each other across a continent.
The writhing waves of water churn through the alpine hamlet of Rimini and settle into the Prickly Pear Valley below. Running by subdivisions and below streets. Rustled and stirred by brook trout, frogs, and water bugs. Meeting the Missouri and beginning the path to the Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean where they will rise and begin the process again.
None of these molecules knows where they're going, none knows where there been, but they will get there together - because of the each other.