Holiday Greetings

I sit here gazing out over the ice and snow that still remains substantial from a storm a fortnight ago. I contemplate the sentiment of the season so swiftly passing that I myself - a lover of this time of year - have not even fully embraced this special time. Looking back over the past year since this holiday in 2004 I am struck with the most simple yet profound irony - the awesome power of the most abundant molecule on this earth - water.

Now those of you who know me well will read on, acknowledging my fascination with science, interest in the simple yet profound, and intrigue with the extraordinary. Trust me - this is not a compilation of Chambers family events - for that you can check our website. For the rest of you I beg your patience and your kind attention. Bear with me for the next few paragraphs while I try to demonstrate relevance.

Over this past 365 we have experienced tremendous loss of life and livelihood from tsunami, hurricane, ice and flood. These so-called "natural disasters" make the man-made destruction of our far from peaceful political and religious alliances pale in comparison. Hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters are not here to share this holiday with us as a result of the power of a molecule to transform a landscape. Countless thousands of others have been uprooted, homes and mementos displaced and destroyed. All this as a result of a molecule so critical to sustaining our lives that 7 days without it would surely cause our personal demise.

We enjoy this incredible chemical in liquid, solid and vapor form. From the glass in front of us on our holiday table, to the cubes of ice that float (yes - incredibly - FLOAT!) in that glass and stretch the life-giving fresh duration of our food on that sunny summer picnic day, to the vapor in our air that we crave on this humidless winter day, and disdain so much during the oppressive heat of a Mid- Atlantic summer. We "tame" this chemical by building elaborate water systems to keep it out (the North Sea) or keep it in (the huge California Water System that nourishes the riches of the crops in an otherwise arid environment). It envelopes our clothes while they wash, embraces us during a cool refreshing dip in the heat of summer, and delivers our lattes fresh and hot - so much so a caution is required on the container to quell the litigious nature of these recent years. We sail across it to find new routes to riches, end up discovering new lands and immediately look for a fresh source of it. And yet we take water for granted.

This holiday I reflect back on the impact of the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004, of the many hurricanes that brought destruction to the families in the US Gulf Coast region, and irony of the droughts in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas so near that same coast. This devastation was founded on the same physical matter that is sacred to a certain faith in the form of holy water, vital to rehydration during sports events like the Tour de France where a dedicated man who beat cancer and came back time after time to win would not consider riding that race - not without a 'miracle drug' - but rather requiring an adequate supply of water. With such mere common properties that it comes to us in all it's various forms sans color, yet is the required ingredient for a brilliant rainbow under the right light conditions, and makes our clear skies a deep blue. A phrase foretells the riches to be found at the end of that rainbow, yet that rainbow could provide advance warning of a devastating storm. Such complexity in something so simple.

So what you ask does this have to do with the Holiday Season?

Let me connect the dots for you. Water represents such a common ingredient in our lives that we take it for granted. And yet it carries the power to sustain or destroy. Likewise we carry within each of us another vital ingredient - the power to care. The power to be cognizant and aware. Cognizant of the plight of our fellow humans and animals on this planet. Aware, sensitive and caring to that which we may otherwise take for granted - that they are sheltered, nourished, protected and most of all loved. Each and every one. At all times. Let us not take that for granted. Not for a day, an hour or a minute.

My conjecture is that "recognition" is humanities' challenge. When we "recognize" a situation we respond, as can be seen by the tremendous outpouring over this past year to help those affected by "nature". When we "recognize" others during the holiday seasons, in all it's politically correct monikers, we do so principally because of a calendar. When reminded of our fortunate situation relative to others we as humans reach out. It is our very nature to do so - we may only need a tiny reminder.

Let me offer a suggestion for you to consider in the coming days, weeks , months and years. Each time you raise a glass to your lips, each time you feel wetness on your skin, each time you hear the hiss of steam, or feel the chill of ice, let it trigger a thought about your family, your friends, your fortunate situation, and your fellow companions on this earth. Ask yourself what kind things have you done - and can you do - to make this world more peaceful and comforting, happier and healthier for them. Use the most common, most encountered, most destructive yet sustaining force on this planet as your reminder. Use WATER as your reminder.

It is our hope that this message finds each of you sharing time with loved ones and safe and secure this holiday. We wish for you a Happy New Year whatever wonders it may bring! And drink from the fountain of life.

Merry Christmas,
Tim and Susan, Dochko and Lika

Posted by tim on Fri - December 23, 2005 | 11:07 AM | |