I’ve been thinking about water a lot lately.

Most of the month of July and running into August has been brutally hot here in Indiana. And though we’ve had a lot of rain, it hasn’t always been spread out in increments that are good for the garden. So nearly every day I have to monitor if there has been enough water or too much water in each of my raised beds and in the other places where I grow food.

Some days, I have to drag out the hose and buckets. Other days, I wish I could take a towel to the soil and mop up the excess. 

Often, I feel like a slave to water.

Water was on a lot of our minds nearly two weeks ago as we made final preparations for my baby sister’s wedding. It was an outdoor event, right next to my cousin’s lovely little pond, but the forecast said a storm was coming. Just before the ceremony, the wind picked up and the air changed. Rain was spotted on the radar 45 miles west, and it was headed our way. 

We were spared from a ruinous rain, though, and we witnessed and rejoiced and ate and danced in dryness. When a few drops did fall from the sky about three hours later, we didn’t care. 

By then, we weren’t afraid of the water anymore.

I left the next morning for a trip to the Pacific Northwest, and I spent a week on an island, literally surrounded by water. Most mornings I ran along Crescent Harbor, amazed by the coastal life I knew little about. A couple of times we took ferries, crossing the water to other islands. We drove on bridges over water, waded up to our knees in the stuff, and even risked falling into it as we climbed craggy rocks to see starfish and jellyfish.

A few days we nearly got lost in the air-born water that swept over the island as marine fog and mist. The stuff I had monitored so closely in my garden and feared so desperately before the wedding was now surrounding me like a blanket, obscuring our view and changing our plans.

I didn’t care much, though. I was on vacation. I wasn’t going to worry about water.

Just before I boarded the plane to come home, I got a call from a friend. I heard water in the background.

“Where’s do you shut off the water to your house?” she said loudly over the sound.

A by-pass valve had had enough, and gallons and gallons of water were shooting out of a pipe in my laundry room.  Since no one had been in my house all week, she didn’t know how long it had been spilling out. Maybe days, losing perhaps as much as tens of thousands of gallons.

My restful vacation ended abruptly as I worried about the water soaking my laundry room and garage. Would it ruin my furnace? What about the washer and dryer? The water heater? The freezer? I imagined the mess I would have when I got home, water soaking the rugs, my shoes, the walls. 

What would it cost to fix the damage caused by all the water?

And then, I saw what else water can do.

By the time I arrived to my house at 10:30 Sunday night, my friend Verray had painstakingly swept out most of the water from my house. All that remained was dampness and puddles.

Shortly after I pulled in the driveway, Bess and Baher arrived to help me blot up what was left of the water and assess the damage. They brought towels and a dehumidifier. It continues to pull water from the air and the walls even this evening. 

The next day, Ann and her daughter came with cleaning rags and water for drinking and for cleaning and bathing.

Later, Baher returned with pipes and torches and tools and restored the proper path for the water to follow. From aquifer to well to treatment plant to reservoir to water main through water meter to copper pipes to faucet.

Water, running deeply, flowing freely, quenching my thirst, satisfying my soul.

A generous person will be enriched,
and one who gives water will get water. 
-Proverbs 11:25 NRSV Bible