It’s that time of year, at least in Colorado. Outside, the water is ice and snow. Inside, it’s hot: for coffee, tea, and showers. Borrowing from last week’s post, we’ll just say this is H2O multi-tasking.
My mother was the poster girl for drinking plenty of water. When she was working with my dad at the dealership, or at home as she ironed, cooked, cleaned, gardened, sewed or worked on her writing, she always had a glass of ice water nearby. She wasn’t a coffee drinker, but she drank hot tea. One of her favorite quotes about the strength of women and tea was by Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag ~ you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
Now Mom is 96 and has advanced dementia, so it takes some coaxing to get her to drink enough water, Ensure or juice. For the rest of us, this post is a tribute to water and a reminder to drink plenty of it.
Isak Denisen (pen name for author Karen Blixen, best known for OUT OF AFRICA), said, “The cure for anything is salt water…sweat, tears, or the sea,” referring to hard work, healthy crying, and being close to the rhythms of the ocean. Today many doctors advise drinking a glass of water (pure, not salt) before taking a shower or bath to regulate blood pressure, and a glass of water before going to bed to lessen the chance of a stroke of heart attack.
English Romantic poet John Keats, who was more influential and highly regarded after his death, asked that only a one-sentence epitaph be engraved on his headstone: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” And Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, wrote “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” Both are good reminders.
My mother’s favorite water quote was by Eleanor Roosevelt, but I think she also would have enjoyed author Barbara Kingsolver’s advice: “Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.”
I can imagine my mom going through this routine, shaking her head like a dog shaking off cold water, laughing and saying, “Be still, imperious voice!” She’s never been a fan of arrogant or domineering attitudes, and in her mind she would have dosed them with cold water.