We Are Half Water



Reflecting Pool at the 9-11 Memorial in Manhattan

Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.

-Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

I love this quote. Margaret Atwood’s description of water is a metaphor for the enduring, resilient, and triumphant human spirit. When I saw the reflecting pools at the 9-11 Memorial in Manhattan, I felt the power of their design. You can watch the water flow downward from the top of the terraced pool, but you never see the bottom. There is a seamless continuity in the water’s flow. In stark contrast to the fluid, rushing water, the names of those lost in the attacks on the Twin Towers remain resolutely etched in the bronze panels that outline the pools.

Memories, legacies, spirits, and the resolve to carry on – all these things are reflected in these pools of water. We move, we outlast, we endure, and we triumph. We are half water.

(Scientifically speaking, the human body is more than 60 percent water.)

© Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2016.

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