Rob Perez
Beyond Reason
Guest Columnist
Coffee by my side, I sit on the dock, overlooking North Arm Bay of Lake Minnetonka. It is 6:02 a.m. Everyone who writes about these sorts of times describes it as quiet and peaceful. They deliberately ignore the Hitchcockian quantities of birds hellbent on their morning song. It’s loud out here. A family of geese paddle somewhere slowly, honking. A loon calls someone, maybe his mother. I face east which means the sunrise is directly in front of me, just above the horizon. Sunrises are a bit like the Minnesota Vikings, best enjoyed with a gaze that I’ll call indirect. I do not wish to be the guy wearing sunglasses at six a.m., but I suppose we all have a cross to bear.
At this hour, the water is boat-free, offering just buoys and birds. Now a family of ducks waddle behind me on the shore. You’d think they’d have the sense to float or fly but no. They waddle. An abundant variety of bugs flitter to and fro, some flying, others flaunting their one superpower, walking on water. A nearby spider is either trying to sunbathe or sneak up on me. There is a gentle, not unpleasant breeze in my face. I would prefer the breeze at my back – or blowing across. But no. It blows right in my face.
Occasionally a fish, apparently trying to end it all, taking what he must assume is one cowardly, final jump into the next dimension, only to be brought crashing back down into the water by something he will never understand – gravity.
But I am not here to document the weather or absence of boats or the blue herons swooping around. Man, how do those things still exist? No, I am here in search of a more profound truth. I want to understand water.
Chemists will tell you water is a cocktail: two parts hydrogen; one part oxygen. But that makes no sense to me. I can drink a cocktail. And I can drink water. But have you ever tried to drink hydrogen and follow it down with an oxygen shooter? It’s a nonstarter. The bigger question is: how does water become that beautiful, essential cooling, clinking agent in my glass we call “ice”? No one knows. There are more questions than answers about water. Water is a great mystery, and I am content to merely wander through its mist.

Water of Lake Minnetonka
Water, you are dirty. I don’t mean polluted, though surface and fertilizer runoff are a big problem. I sometimes wonder just how much Round Up is in you and, in turn, in me?
Water, you hold many secrets under there. Not secrets like a Lochness Monster or hidden treasure, but other, less-good secrets, like tires and really old beer cans. Or more dirt.
Water, you’re so very reflective. By that I don’t mean you think about things deeply. I mean, maybe you do. I dunno. But I mean you are reflective in a way that makes it so where before there was one thing – now there are two.
Water, you are opaque. But opaque is really just another word for dirty, isn’t it? I mean, the fish beneath your surface don’t seem to mind. But are fish really the best judge?
Water, when I look at the lake as a whole, I see many different sections of ripples. They look like individual dance classes, moving to music no other section can hear.
Water, you have debris on your surface, like lake weeds or pollen or fallen branches from trees and what the heck is that bright green algae?! That stuff is crazy.
Water, sometimes your ripples are so big they become tiny waves, the kind I could surf if I were a gingerbread man.
Water, you are murky, not in the way that implies you’re a mystery. (Although you are. Two hydrogens?) I mean murky in the way that it’s hard to see through you. Which is probably why no one snorkels around here.
Oh, Water of Lake Minnetonka, I may never fully understand you but that might just be because you’re so dirty. The birds don’t seem to mind. Two swans are now bobbing for apples or something. Jeez, this lake is like a bird sanctuary nobody asked for. Anyway, oh Water, why don’t you clean yourself up and become less of a murky, opaque, mystery so we can one day solve the true mystery which is how you magically transform yourself into ice. Until then, I’m afraid I will only see you as all wet.