by Sarah Tompkins ’10
To look at it scribbled on a scrap of paper, its chemical formula is three, plain characters; the representation of microscopic molecules dwarfed by the enormity of humankind: H20. But water, water is an entity of mystical properties and mythical proportions. It can swallow entire civilizations, keeping us searching for hints at lost Atlantis for millennia. It is oblivion if supped from the River Lethe, but sweet immortality from the Fountain of Youth. The carrier of cholera and bringer of death, it has also propelled the great ships of Magellan and Cortes and cleansed the devoted in the Ganges. Water may be omnipresent in our daily lives, but its atoms transform with new meaning and unfathomable power in each passing moment. It is ineffable; it is life, it is death. Or, maybe just: Water.