The Journey of a Water Droplet | Teen Ink

The Journey of a Water Droplet

May 19, 2018
By starfeather PLATINUM, Olathe, Kansas
starfeather PLATINUM, Olathe, Kansas
21 articles 0 photos 62 comments

Favorite Quote:
AD ASTRA PER ASPERA- to the stars, through difficulties.

With 22author from the Science Hour 4 network


A few weeks ago, a story about the incredible journey of one cool water droplet came to my attention. It was an incredible tale; I was immediately intrigued and wanted to interview this droplet about their experience. It agreed to speak with me, and so here it is, my interview with Aqua the water droplet. I hope this interview is of as much interest to you, reader, as it was to me.

22author: So, Aqua, how are you doing after your incredible experience in the Water Cycle?
Aqua: I’m okay, but I’ve definitely been through a lot.
22author: Certainly! Can you tell us how it all started?
Aqua: Sure. After all, that’s what I’m here to talk about. I started out as a little droplet in an entire ocean of water. See, I have a really, REALLY big family, but I’ve learned not to get attached to any of them because… well, let’s just say that being a water droplet isn’t your idea of a good time. In the Water Cycle, you’re always moving, always going who knows where.
22author: But you started out pretty still, right? You were just sitting there surrounded by your family. Then what happened?
Aqua: Something weird started happening. All around me, water droplets started getting smaller and smaller, and more energetic. It was like their current bodies couldn’t contain their energy. And then, some of the droplets would just… float up and away into the air. It was the strangest thing.
22author: That’s definitely very peculiar! Did this eventually happen to you?
Aqua: Yes, it did. It felt very strange, transforming from a water droplet to water vapor. Like my body was spreading apart.
22author: Did it hurt?
Aqua: Well… kind of. It just felt weird, but natural at the same time. Like this was meant to happen to me. I was pretty calm through the whole thing, if I do say so myself.
22author: For those of you reading this who don’t know, this change in the process of the Water Cycle is called evaporation. Water molecules are heated by the sun or another source and lose density, floating into the sky as water vapor.
Aqua: So anyways- after I turned into water vapor, I stayed in the atmosphere for a while. It was cold up there, and my body got heavier and heavier until it was hard for me to stay up in the clouds. The same thing was happening to the other droplets, too, and together we all formed a cloud. We moved fast through the atmosphere, and then… that’s when we started to fall.
22author: Aqua, that heaviness you’re describing- that was you and the other droplets condensing, was it not?
Aqua: Yeah, I think that’s the scientific word for it.
22author: And when you and the others fell, that’s called precipitation, what we humans know as rain most often, but sometimes snow or hail. But, Aqua, that first time of precipitation, you fell as rain, right?
Aqua: Yes, I did, as well as the others around me who were falling too. When I landed, I was right on the window of a car! The car was going pretty fast so I slid off the glass and onto the road, where I dripped down to the curb. Then this car came by, that was going way faster than all the other cars, and went right against the curb! I thought I was going to get squished but I only got splashed into the air and landed on the grass near the sidewalk. After a while I soaked into the ground and made my way underground, along with some other drops.
22author: When a water droplet soaks into the ground, that process is called infiltration. Once underground, the water collects into groundwater storage, and flows under the dirt in groundwater expansion. This is what Aqua experienced in this part of his story.
Aqua: Yeah, a lot happened to me after I precipitated. Underground, it was dark, and I wasn’t sure where I would end up. I just kept moving along with those other droplets until I had lost hope of seeing the sun again. But then…
22author: What? What happened?
Aqua: I don’t know how, but a plant whose roots were dug deep in the ground just sucked me up into its roots! It was amazing, how it could pull water up into it against the flow of gravity. Except then it used some parts of me for nutrition, so the part of me that wasn’t used was really small. But eventually that part of me made it to the pores of a leaf, and the plant released me back into the atmosphere where I became water vapor yet again.
22author: Your description of the plant moving water against the direction of groundwater flow is also known as plant uptake. Plants do this all the time to get the nutrients they need from the soil. Your being released back into the air is called evapotranspiration, the process of plants releasing excess groundwater it picked up into the air.
Aqua: So that’s what that stuff is called. Good to know.
22author: Yes. So, you were back in the atmosphere as water vapor. What next?
Aqua: Well, of course after a while my body got heavy again and I gained density, then fell to earth again, this time as more of a mist. Except instead of eventually ending up… uh…
22author: Infiltrating.
Aqua: Yeah, instead of infiltrating, I landed right smack in the middle of a river. It flowed too fast for me to sink into the ground, so I was forced to just travel with it to wherever it ended up.
22author: And it’s said that all rivers lead to the ocean.
Aqua: Yep, at the end of the river I was poured into the ocean, right back where it all started. The Water Cycle is a never-ending process!
22author: That last event Aqua experienced is called runoff. Sometimes when a water droplet lands on earth, it flows too fast to infiltrate into the ground and gravity takes it right back to the ocean.
Aqua: So that’s been my journey… so far. I’ll be doing this forever.
22author: But there’s always new places to go as a water droplet! Who knows, some day you might end up in a human or animal. Do you have a place you would especially like to go next?
Aqua: Well, next for me is evaporating. I can’t really imagine what could happen after that.
22author: Well, Aqua, it has been really great to hear about the Water Cycle from the perspective of a water droplet! I hope the rest of your journeys are pleasant and that you get to go all around the world! I, for one, would just love to be a water droplet. You get to go so many places!
Aqua: Thank you for listening to my experience. It’s been nice telling someone what I’ve been through. Uh oh, I can feel my body getting smaller… I’ll see you in a few decades!

So that was my interview with Aqua the water droplet. I hope you learned a few things about the Water Cycle. Next week: Exploring the bottom of a lake!

The author's comments:

This was something I wrote for a water cycle project in my science class this year. I was voted by my teacher as one of the most creative projects!

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