Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Metaphysical Meander Down a Scientific Stream


Nina and an interested "reader" of Water Is...
That was the title John Stewart gave his interview article in the MississaugaNews last week on my book Water Is… In fact, as part of the interview, John and I did a meander over to the Credit River, featured in my recently released book about the myriad identities of water.

We met at the Port Credit Second Cup on Lakeshore Avenue and talked for several hours over as many teas, then wandered across the bridge to the lower Credit, where I tried to interest several swans in my book. I almost succeeded, except the price—falling in the water—prevented me at the last moment. The sun was warm and the wind blustered as we watched the swans glide like luxury ships along the rocky shoreline. At this time of year the swans are nesting. In fact, Stewart later captured some beautiful shots of swans nesting at Lakefront Promenade Park in Mississauga (see shots I stole off Twitter: @JohnAtTheNews).
Credit River at Meadowvale

“The book is a progressive journey, reflecting her career and life,” notes Stewart of Water Is… in his article. He and I talked a lot about the Credit River and why I’d chosen to feature it over the many other higher profile rivers I’d experienced—the Seine, Rhine, Fraser and Mississippi rivers for example. It was simple for me. Serendipity played a major role; The Credit River figured in my life journey at just the right time and it was accessible in a way that provided the kind of intimacy I needed as I wrote my book. I’d walked pretty much the whole length of it. Waded, I should say; because I was in the river, clamoring over the rocks in my Oakley flip-flops, most of the time.

Nina photographing rapids of upper Credit River
“The first chapters,” writes Stewart, “feature scientist and limnologist Nina, who spent a decade teaching at the University of Victoria and doing consulting science work and publishing papers. [Water Is…] gradually progresses, step by scientific step, to embrace things beyond science and into spirituality.” Einstein and many other scientists have made the same journey, I pointed out. “All great scientists at one point need to connect with God.”

“Most intriguing,” continues Stewart, “is the science that explains our emotional reactions to natural encounters. We feel better beside rushing water because negative ions, which have an extra electron, attach to positively charged ions from pollen, mould, bacteria, etc. and drag them to the ground. Thus the air is fresher.”

“[Water Is…] works on myriad levels,” says Stewart, “from top-notch trivia guide (the total amount of water in the atmosphere hasn’t changed since Earth’s formation) to science primer to cultural guide (Australian aboriginals douse for water through their feet, explaining that water in their bodies communicates with underground supplies.)”
Photo by John Stewart

“It’s part memoir and part philosophical exploration,” he says, “especially good when exploring the Da Vinci-esque bonds shared among science and art and design. It’s also a lay guide to the scientific and popular literature on the subject, chalk full of fascinating quotations…If you don’t want to read all those other books on water, just read this one.”

Water Is… “an exhilarating ride, even if you are not a science type. It’s filled with gentle eddies and contemplative pools on the connections between nature and man, inner and outer lives, and the struggle between your rational science side and your aspirational, artistic, spiritual side. You’ll find yourself revisiting a few vortexes and shifting undercurrents in your own life.”

Our conversation—like the meandering Credit River itself—flowed from ecology and water wars to quantum physics, entanglement and altruism. Stewart concluded his article with a note about new science regarding the emerging recognition of a cooperative universe. I’d mentioned that we are finding increasing evidence that all kinds of life demonstrate qualities of empathy and altruism. “We just need to look for it.”

“This book is a good place to start,” says Stewart.


Water Is... was released today worldwide and is featured as  the #1 Hot New Release in Hydrology and is already an Amazon bestseller in several categories including Hydrology, Geology, Environmental Science and Natural Resources.


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