To drink, perchance to dream

September 2, 2022 Comments Off on To drink, perchance to dream

“To drink,” the first verb ever uttered after perhaps “to eat.”

My, my, how aeons have changed.

“Let’s get a drink.”

“Had too much to drink.”

“Do you drink?”

“Drinking and driving is illegal.”

“The drinks are on me.”

Somewhere along the highway, “drink” got co-opted by the alcohols, but in prehistory gone by “drink” meant water. Just water.

And water didn’t come from a bottle, a tap, a dispenser, a hose, through a filter or a pipe, water came from rivers and streams, pools and lakes. Thirsty? Cup your hands and drink deeply.

Of course logging, cattle, agriculture, cars, pavement, industry, and waste have degraded virtually every inhabited watershed on earth, so now you drink from running water at grave peril, from standing water on pain of illness or death. To drink such water is to drink filth.

The Sierras, logged and grazed and degraded though they are, still have numerous uncontaminated freshwater sources if you know where to look, if you judge wisely, and if you get lucky. I’ve not gotten sick yet … and I’ve become a half-good guesser, half-lucky drinker of unfiltered wild water.

Some rivers and streams seem to promise you that they’re clean, and a few days ago I found one of them, so I slaked my prodigious thirst straight from the tumbling rivulets that dashed between the rocks, and as I drank I thought about how many people on earth there are who will live and die never knowing one of the most primal and gratifying parts of our evolution, that is, drinking cold river water straight from the source with no filter other than your tongue, lips, and teeth.

To drink deeply from a fresh mountain stream and quench your bone-deep thirst with spring-fed cold, it was our birthright, it was one of the daily rituals of life synonomous with life, but only the wealthiest will ever know it now, those wealthy enough to walk in remote places, to look, find, and drink.



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