H2O by Dorothee Lang

She clears the snow, once more. Her shoes are drained already, her arms are tired. The snow keeps falling since days. She tries to see it as just what it is: a structure of H2O. Strings of molecules, the base of life.

“The rain that falls, the water we drink, it’s the same water that was home to the first fish, that quenched the thirst of the first mammals,” a scientist explained on TV.

She imagines them, all those drops of water that keep moving through time, in different states of being, once being a river, once a cup of coffee, once being used for the laundry, and then falling again, as rain, as snow. The circular thought brings on images of the streets of laundry she has ironed in her life, of the armies of dishes she has washed, of all those days she has woken up to, to fall asleep again at their end.
She keeps clearing the snow, and can’t help it: her thoughts are with Sisyphus now, and she tries to see him, again, as a happy person.


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19 responses to “H2O by Dorothee Lang

  1. A never ending cycle… Nicely told.

  2. Randal Houle

    This is one of my favorites of yours (and I have many). This idea of water being constantly recycled, not just in our time, but from whenever water molecules first appeared…. okay, I knew it intellectually, but presented here makes me think of it differently, and these are the kinds of things I love getting stuck on. Thank you so much.

  3. Catherine Davis

    Beautiful. Lovely, this journey, and I so admire the course into “the streets of laundry she has ironed…” and on.

    You know, Camus concluded a happy Sisyphus:

    “One always finds one’s burden again… The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

  4. I like the Sisyphus touch! The old myth (being used in the present time) mirroring water moving through time. Thanks.

  5. I agree with Stella. Equating the domestic with the mythic is a powerful move (and you do it very well).

  6. What an intricate story told through the simple matter of rain. Wonderfully well done, Dorothee.

  7. Len

    lovely story, so wise and poetic and then a necessary dagger at the end to punctuate everything.

  8. Lovely, poignant story. It’s brilliant to match her awareness of cycles with Sisyphus.

  9. Even the title, H2O, is symbolic of so much more. Depth in water, what else is there? Loved this.

  10. This was gorgeous. Well done.

  11. thanks so much for the feedback! the story shaped during another morning of clearing snow, while letting my thoughts wander).
    yes, the Camus connection: i remembered the Camus quote on Sisyphus while writing the story later that day. the next morning, almost as if to put some icing on the story and my clearing, more snow fell.

  12. Kim Hutchinson

    Wow, this is deft and beautiful. I love how the images layer on layer until the ending that strikes home.

  13. striking visual language of cycles…inter-connectedness, natural rhythms…it had me forming in my mind’s eye the slow turning of the big blue globe, and the title H2O bringing to mind the Sisyphean human endeavor of decoding that mystery that lies about us, an almost inadequate catalog of letters and numbers to represent the un-viewable molecular world.

  14. lovely story, no wonder you have a soft spot for it.

  15. guy

    I liked this. I’ve gone to this well myself. Impeccable taste in thematics.
    I prefer shovelling snow to a lot of other chores. It is a drag if you’re in a hurry.

  16. ah Sisyphus, he is happy, then sad, then happy oh you understand. I like how you introduced him into the fray..

  17. Lovely circularity. I love how she rationalizes life cycle of snow into water to get past the tedium of the shoveling. Beautiful story. Peace…

  18. Poetic and deeply philosophical, love the way this narrator sees “beyond” what’s in front of her nose.

  19. Pingback: Week #34 – Floating away | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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