Posted by: floridanature | August 24, 2010

A ‘Borrowed’ Lyric: “The Social Life of Water”

A good friend just sent this poem to me. Water’s a big part of my life—it always has been since I was a little boy growing up on a peninsula surrounded by it. Now, I live on another peninsula surrounded by it, and in my best moments, have spent many great times swimming in it, paddling on it, and diving under it. It’s been a force in my life.

Bird Island in Lake Jesup at Dawn from my 'yak

Another friend does an heroic job in rendering images of springs in oils, paintings that transcend the static confinement that can sometimes afflict art.  In that case, her images of our freshwater springs take on a very real life—and it’s a life in which the perception of the moment and the refraction of light become every bit as real as the substance of  water itself.

"AQUIFERious" by Margaret Ross Tolbert, the art & science of springs

And, so it would make sense that water—in all its forms—might have even have an interactive “social” life, and that life would be known only to its own kind.

I differ only in degrees from the poet’s conclusion near the end: If we play our cards right, we humans can catch a little whisper of the conversation now and again. On our last visit to Green Springs, I know I sure did…


All water is a part of other water.

Cloud talks to lake; mist

speaks quietly to creek.

Lake says something back to cloud,

and cloud listens.

No water is lonely water.

All water is a part of other water.

River rushes to reunite with ocean;

Tree drinks rain and sweats out dew;  Surface images at Green Springs

Dew takes elevator into cloud;

Cloud marries puddle;


has long conversation with lake about fiord;

Fog sneaks up and murmurs insinuations to swamp;

Swamp makes needs known to marshland;      

Thunderstorm throws itself on estuary;

Waterspout laughs at joke of frog pond.

All water understands.

All water understands.

Reservoir gathers information

for database of watershed;

Brook translates lake to waterfall;

Tide wrinkles its green forehead and then breaks through.

All water understands.

But you, you stand on the shore

of blue Lake Kieve in the evening

and listen, grieving

as something stirs and turns within you.

Not knowing why you linger in the dark.

Not able even to guess

from what you are excluded.

"Rock Cub Springs", not so very far away

– Tony Hoagland



  1. Bill – Thank you for the kind and supportive link on your blog. I just discovered it. A real surprise. Hope I can live up to the support.

    Offer stands on paddling the North Withlacoochee.

    Come up anytime. We’ll maybe catch some fish, too.

    David Lambert
    904-403-5525 cell

  2. Am glad to be able to do it, David ~ Hope all’s well with you.
    Been hard to plan water-related stuff too far ahead with all the rains we’ve been getting.
    Still, nice to see the river finally rise…

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