At work, I spend a great deal of time watching boats float by on Seattle’s Lake Washington Ship Canal. After a while, you start thinking of it as just another road. It’s water, but it seems solid. Slippery, yes, but solid.
Until it doesn’t. It’s a transit system, but people swim in it, and jump in it. People fall off paddle boards with a screech. Dogs leap in after balls. Fish jump out of it, and back in. Raptors dive in and pluck those same fish out. Occasionally a vessel sinks. People drown.
The one time I had the opportunity to take a kayak on it was very unsettling. Suddenly the whole depth thing was very, very, real. That, and if I wasn’t careful, I could actually get wet. What a concept!
It’s hard to remember how deep the water is, because all you deal with, usually, is the surface. (Before you ask, it has an average depth of 32 feet. But I had to look that up.)
You stop thinking about what lies beneath. The truth is, you can never be completely certain what’s down there. We humans do not enjoy uncertainty.
Looks can certainly be deceiving. But that’s mainly because most of us never bother to delve deeper. I think we’d all be much better off if we did.
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