You wouldn’t know it now, but time was, Light and Water didn’t get along at all. Light thought water was a show-off, racing through the air, messing with its matter-state, and splashing everything. Water thought Light was a wimp: it couldn’t decide if it was a wave or a particle; lots of things were too dense for it to shine through; and it was plain, boring white. Each understood the other’s importance in the life of Gaia, but they stayed away from each other’s as much as possible, especially during a rainfall. Light faded while Water painted Gaia’s surface with its droplets, and when Light came back, Water evaporated up to the clouds to avoid it.
One day, a steady rain had begun to fall when Light realized it had forgotten something dreadfully important on the ground. It turned itself on to see the spot and ran into Water in its tumble toward Gaia’s surface.
“Hey!” Water shouted as it fell, “what’s the big idea?”
“I’m sorry,” Light said, “but I desperately need something down here, and I must be able to see.”
“You’re in our way!” Water said.
“Maybe,” Light replied, peeved, “if you didn’t take up so much space, you wouldn’t be in everyone’s way, and we wouldn’t run into you.”
“I am part of almost everything,” Water said. “You’re in my way!” Water sent a big, round droplet careening into Light.
The collision pushed Light in a different direction, deeper into the raindrop! Light felt all broken up, no longer the strong, steady presence it prided itself on being. Now it was colors, bold, dazzling rays of color, racing toward the back of the droplet.
But it didn’t escape out the back. It bounced again and zoomed off in a different angle. I could end up bouncing around in here all day! Light thought. It concentrated all its might and pushed itself through the side of the raindrop it had come in through.
Light quivered in relief at its freedom. But it hadn’t come through its journey unscathed. On the way out, it had refracted further, pushing its colorful rays further apart. How embarrassing, to be seen in public this way! Light tried frantically to pull itself together.
“Light?” Water sounded confused. “Is that you? You look…different. Beautiful.”
“I’m beautiful all the time,” Light said.
Water considered this. “Yes,” it said, “I suppose you are. But I never truly noticed before. The colors are amazing. May I do that again?”
Now that the shock had worn off, Light had to admit it had enjoyed the adventure. And the colors were lovely. “All right,” it said.
They chased each other about, Light beaming into Water, Water splashing into Light. Light dazzled Water with its color. Water left Light breathless with every tumble.
Fern looked up to see what the fuss was about. “Light and Water,” it called, “look what you’ve made!”
They had made a giant arc of colors, stacked on top of each other, seeming to stretch from one horizon to the other. It was glorious.
Light and Water smiled at each other. “Look at that,” they said. “We make a pretty good team.”