Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Watering Our Lives

As a children’s book author, I love to hang around elementary schools, so last year I wandered over to Mesa Elementary, where my boys where in school once upon a time, to check out the spring science fair. I wrote down some of my favorite projects: How long can people of different ages keep their eyes open without blinking? What happens if you replace milk with water in a cake recipe? How far can a guinea pig smell? Does toast always fall butter side down? And my all-time favorite: At what temperature does a pickle explode? (Look for that one when the sequel to 7 x 9 = Trouble! comes out year after next.)

Then there’s the perennially popular experiment when a child takes four plants and over a period of weeks waters one of them with Coke, one with water, one with hydrochloric acid, and one not at all. Which plant does best? Hmmm. How about: the one that gets the water? As opposed to the one that gets the hydrochloric acid?

Lately I’ve been using this as a metaphor for my own life. For years I was watering my life with hydrochloric acid: spending time too often with toxic people in toxic environments. Thank goodness I stopped doing that! But it’s not enough to stop watering my life with acid. I also need to remember to water it with . . . water.

This means taking time to go on hikes in our stunning Rocky Mountains foothills with my friend Rowan, attending the Colorado Music Festival up at Chautauqua (this week they’re doing a series of the world’s great piano concertos – Grieg last night, Rachmaninoff tomorrow, Beethoven on Friday, Mozart on Sunday) – and going off to the Betsy-Tacy Convention with my sister, Cheryl. Now watch me grow!

What are you doing to water your life?

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