My sons asked if I would bring them a rock from the summit of Mount Adams. At the location of the question, in our kitchen at about 75 feet above sea level, I thought it was a good idea. But then the reality of packing a couple of rocks down, no matter how small, seemed quite unappealing once I was standing there at 12,280 feet.
Instead, I presented them each a small mason jar of water from my water bottle. It had been pumped from a stream emerging from a snowfield near Crescent Glacier, high on the side of the volcano. They were leery at first and slightly disappointed not to have a rock. But then they opened their jars and sniffed the water. They each took small drinks and smiled. They protected their jars, kept them chilled in the refrigerator and took more sips throughout the day.
That water was no doubt heavier than the small rocks I could have grabbed. But the first half of that liter had immediate purpose: it quenched my thirst during our descent. And the second half of that liter was absorbed into the wonderment section of the boys’ memories and will probably stay there forever.