New Words

I remember I used to watch the water evaporate on the asphalt behind my house.

I had just learned about the water cycle, and I was fascinated by the whole process. 

I didn’t understand how the sun, something so far away, could have significant impact on our earth. 

To me, it was no more than a giant lamp in the sky.  But now, it lent a new perspective to summer days spent swimming in steaming jungle sidewalks, as water from the garden hose left almost as soon as it touched down, being thrown into the air. 
I had never thought about exactly why the pools of water turned warm, or where they went once our little ocean was gone. It was just something that happened. 

Now, though, having a name for that process, a big name: “evaporation”. I found a new purpose. 

I studied our manmade lakes and waterfalls, a scientist taking notes, mumbling to the wind or whichever brother was nearest. 
I took exhibitions to the pool across the street, theorizing how much sunshine it would take to drain the whole thing in one go. 

I measured cups of water and poured them out to see which puddle took the longest to disappear, nodding solemnly as I jotted down the results. 

Putting a name to something will sometimes take away its magic. That is in part what helps us grow up. And, eventually, I did.

But that day, perhaps feeling the impending adulthood on my horizon, I was content to take notes on the new discovery I’d made. 

I continued to watch the water evaporate, in wispy billows, behind my house.