watching water boil‏

by richibi

 "Water Album - Ten Thousand Riplets on the Yangzi" - Ma Yuan

Water Album – Ten Thousand Riplets on the Yangzi

Ma Yuan


I’ve got something for you, I said to
a friend when she fretted again about
a condition, one of several, dare I say,
eating away at her, though from the
inside, I believe, instead of the outside,
if you know what I mean

my tremor, she explained, something
I’d indeed earlier noted, and
commented on

my doctor said it wasn’t Parkinson’s
and I want a second opinion, she said,
he’s referred me to a neurologist

what did your doctor say it was, I

just nerves, she answered

I’ve always thought it was just
nerves, I said, stress

but I don’t think I’m stressed, she

you’re stressed right now, I retorted

have you been meditating, I asked,
like I suggested

no, she said, I just can’t get into it

I know, I know, I responded, listen,
this is why I called, I just figured
this out, I’ve been boiling water to
rinse my dishes for a while now,
ever since the water alert several
years ago when the water went
brown, I’ve got one or even several
pots behind me on the stove heating
while I’m washing the dishes, most
often I’m finished before the water

I still have my plastic gloves on, I
don’t want to take them prematurely
off, so I either watch the water boil
or look at the mountains from my
window, both of which can get

the mountains mostly win out but
then I have to turn back to check
on the water, and I’m back where
I started, watching the water boil

a watched pot never boils, this’d
be great for your condition

excuse me, she said

watch a pot of water boil, I said,
you probably won’t watch it from
start to finish, but

she started to laugh

you can start watching after several
minutes, you don’t even have to

she continued to laugh

watch it till it boils, every day you
can add minutes

she didn’t stop laughing

doesn’t that sound logical, I asked,
all she’d need was will, which’d get
rid of her tremor, I concluded

later I could’ve added that if you’re
diligent, which is to say patient, calm
you’ll start to more precisely define
the word “boil”, have 32 names for
it like Eskimos do for snow

from simmer, shimmer, steam and
hover, stir, roil, ripple and shudder,
to “Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble”,
for instance

a note to myself, do the same thing
with “mountain”