I hauled all of the empty water jugs into my trunk today and drove the five minutes to the Grandin Co-op.

The Co-op is one of my favorite places. The employees are friendly and relaxed: Heidi, Summer, Josh, Bob, Sean, Dawn, Cherie, Sarah. One is a poet. Another doesn’t own a car, but walks and rides a bike everywhere. One was a farmer for years. They can tell you helpful things like how to grow radishes, where to find local honey, and how to locate a drumming group.

It is delightful to shop there. Some of my favorite finds: garlic, onion, olive oil, dark green kale, spinach, goat cheese, whole grain sprouted bread, kalamata olives, ginger root, sweet potatoes, dried beans, long grain brown rice, green beans, the occasional dark chocolate, whole wheat pasta, pomegranate, cayenne pepper, honey, avocado, butternut squash … what a feast! The colors, tastes and textures are luscious and distinct. I feel incredibly, embarrassingly rich. It is a rare privilege to have the opportunity to eat healthy, delicious food and to have plenty of it. Not many people in the world do.

One day, I would like to grow and produce a great portion of my family’s food. I envision a large garden with rows of sunflowers, beans, tomatoes, and onions. And a barn with goats for milking. And woods filled with wild berries. And beyond the house, forest and field reaching out as far as the eye can see. Ginger, if you’re reading this, it is your place that I’m picturing!

Speaking of goats, I hear that city dwellers like myself are allowed to keep them. And chickens too. So … how about if I get a couple goats? What do you all think? Is it cruel to pen a goat up in a small back yard? I suppose I could take it on walks down the sidewalk, but that would be rather ridiculous.

I believe I’ve wondered from the original topic – collecting water. So, anyway, I was standing in the back of the Co-op, refilling my water jugs, when I remembered a scene from my childhood. When we lived in N.H., we would load up our water jugs ever week and drive to spot outside of town where there was a spring. My mom would pull the car onto the side of the road and we would walk down to a spot behind a large rock where spring water poured from a black pipe. We would arrange ourselves bucket-brigade style, passing empty jugs to be filled, and then passing them back to be loaded in the trunk, ice cold and heavy.

I thought it was a miracle. How could something so pure and clear spring forth from the dark, dirty underground? And as I held each plastic jug under the stream, I imagined this mysterious underworld. Perhaps it had all sorts of underground passages, tunnels, glittering waterfalls, and shining rooms. I wished I could shrink down to the size of a drop of water and slip down through the rocks and explore.

It felt honest and good to get our water like this – discovering its secret source like rangers or explorers and collecting it in carefully recycled jugs.

We received the water from the depths of earth like a gift – a free gift. The water kept running and running, endless as eternity.

And in its rushing mirror surface, I saw the reflection of the world.