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fall water

Water is unusual because it allows you to fall into it. You can fall right through its surface and keep going, for a while at least.

Sumner boat bay

There are many other parts of our world that refuse to let us merge so completely. You can't fall under a wall, or through a sand dune, or into the skin of a bobcat. Many objects regularly reject our attempts to tumble into them. Some will run away, or scratch us. Others just stand their ground. Only in fairy-tales can the other side of the mirror be reached, and yet the mirroring sea will lap you up quite happily, whether you're gazing at yourself or not.

Water can also be saturated with dirt and yet appear majestically clean. After embracing all manner of pollutants, after taking fallen, filthy bits of the world under its surface, it opaquely refuses to show what it's holding onto, to declare how dirty it is.

That is, until you test it, or drink it, or feel something fuzz invisibly against your leg after you've toppled in. That's when it reminds you of its capacity to carry unspeakable things. Perhaps that's why they're hidden, permitted to drift only if they remain unseen.

We simply can't picture everything that water swallows. We wouldn't want to. We want to marvel at the patterns on the top, comfortably bound by our portion of oxygen and unimpeded light, refreshed by the spindrift and the steady roar, from a safe distance.

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