I was drinking water on the balcony. It had been sitting there in a glass since earlier. It was still cool, but not cold by any means. It brought to mind a time when warm water was refreshing. Funny how perspective can change the experience of something so fundamental.
On the Camino in Spain there is a very long piece of Meseta. About twenty kilometres of open space with little shade and no sources of additional water. I had left early in the morning and it was late afternoon. I hadn’t seen another person for a very long time. I was down to my last 200 ml of water (less than 1 cup) and I could not see the town I was supposed to be finding. There was a building visible several kilometres to my left, but that would be further than I could walk with this much water. I started to panic.
My mouth was so dry now I was having difficulty swallowing which is a sensation I hope none of you have ever had, or will ever have. I didn’t want to drink my last bit of water. I did not know how long it needed to last. I had started to take a small gulp and hold it in my mouth. This was maximizing the wetness of my mouth without using up too much of the water.
I was so desperately thirsty it was all I could do not to swallow it all in one ecstatic gulp, but I had to make it last as long as possible. I mastered swallowing a very small amount of it while keeping the majority in my mouth. But I was awestruck by how acute the need and desire to swallow is. I guess I had always just swallowed before and hadn’t experienced it.
That water, warm as it was, remains the most refreshing water I have ever had. True story.