sweet surrender

25 Oct

Most of us cling to something we’re never without… like chapstick or tissues or (most obvious of all) a cellphone.

Only one thing causes me instant anxiety as soon as I discover it’s been left behind.

In fact, “anxiety” may be an understatement as I usually break out into a panicked sweat as soon as I realize it’s not within immediate reach. After all, I often haul around enough of it to sustain the average person for a week.

What is it? 


When I signed up to teach in China a few summers ago, my only concern was the accessibility of drinking water at all times.

During the various meetings before the trip, people inquired about the pollution levels, the language barrier, the school schedule, the intense humidity with temps regularly over 100…

Not me.

“Will we have constant access to drinking water?” I would ask every chance I got.

The person replying usually frowned, and their answer was never reassuring.

Every year for many years, my birthday and xmas lists have included Another New Water Bottle 🙂 as if it’s normal to collect them… such a fun hobby!

But I’ve rarely ever received one as a gift, as my family has tried hard to ignore my water fixation.

That is, until last year when my daughter gave me what she believed to be the perfect present… one that would end my obsession with personal H2O storage once and for all: A magical, self-filtering water bottle with a cartridge powerful enough to purify a puddle on Pluto!

The problem was, despite the label’s marketing claims and EPA certification, I didn’t trust the magical water bottle. Completely illogical, I know, but my natural instincts are almost always opposite of common sense.

So my daughter’s thoughtful gift sat in a kitchen cabinet collecting dust for months, until my husband innocently inquired one day if he could bring it along it on motorcycle trip “just in case” he needed it.

Soon, he was taking it on every lengthy excursion — during a day of boating or even to a three-night rock concert in Tennessee. I have no doubt he dipped that filtered container into any old water source.

It began to bother me, his casual relationship with H2O, but at the same time I envied him. I wanted to believe in the magical water bottle too.

And then last week we traveled to Yosemite National Park for our 30th wedding anniversary.



My husband suggested we pack the “you-know-what” for our hikes, but I smugly reminded him that water wouldn’t be running in Yosemite this time of year, especially as CA has been suffering a drought.

However, as soon as our plane landed in San Francisco, the skies opened up and it poured for days. By the time we arrived in Yosemite, the replenished rivers were flowing once again from the snow-capped peaks — unlike any precipitation people had seen in a long time.





Mountain Water!


On our last day, we were driving over the Sierra Nevadas at an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet when I reached for my nearby water bottle. I noticed it was almost empty, so I twisted around to grab another on the back seat.

“Hey! Where are the 7 others I filled before we left this morning?”

“I don’t know.” My husband smiled mischievously. “Did you forget them?”

“No,” I stammered and began to sweat. ” I mean they were… but I must have… at least I think I –“

Suddenly, he pulled over on the side of the road near a roaring waterfall beneath a jagged, snowy cliff. Then he reached under the car seat and pulled out the magical bottle.

“This will be the best water you’ve ever had,” he said. “I promise.”



Now if I could only find a filter for my dark chocolate habit…

13 Replies to “sweet surrender

  1. Loved this line: my natural instincts are almost always opposite of common sense. 🙂
    I am getting better about bringing a water bottle with me most places, but I forgot on Monday, and I was hurting. I went to a Hillary rally and had to stand in line for an hour-and-a-half just to get in. Then there was the rally itself, the walk back to the car (there seemed no provision for water there….they could have made a fortune!), and the drive until I could fine a convenience store. I made it, but it might have sent you into a full-blown panic attack. 5 hours without water!

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