Sometimes reality is truly strange and coincidence is just too powerful. This morning I was looking for a good blog topic and came across a short piece I started a couple years ago. I wrote for about an hour and moved on through my day that included a visit to the shore and a walk on the slips in the boat harbor to make sure my boat was safe and sound. This evening I sat down to cruise my email, Facebook, Twitter and all the other news sources of the day. What do I find? Today, March 22nd is World Water Day. I was writing a tribute and didn’t know it. As Rod Serling would say, “I give you a man, a man at a computer writing, writing as he does each day. Little does he know his about to enter. . . . The Twilight Zone.” Here is what I wrote this morning, completely obvious to anything.
Sometimes when I look out over the lake I reflect on the idea that humans are land animals and don’t fair well in water for any extended amount of time. Oh, we have our long distance swimmers and a handful of deep sea divers, but by and large humans don’t dwell in water without technology to help them breath, float and stay warm. How odd then that humans, so much more at home on dry land, are fascinated with water. We vacation near and on it, pay exorbitant prices for lake front, beach front, river front, slough front property, just so we can sit and drink our coffee and cocktails looking out over the water that we paid to sit by. The house just across the street may be just as nice as mine it, but it’s not on the lake so it’s not as valuable as mine, fact of life. So what’s the deal, why does staring at waves lapping on the beach drop our blood pressure? Why does a walk on a sandy shore at sunset turn a woman’s heart to jelly while the same walk down a dusty ranch road has her heading for the nearest bus stop? Why do we paddle, row, motor, sail, and splash our way across anything made of water just to do it, no destination no goal in mind, just being there?
We were on this same beach on Thanksgiving day and the photos could be interchanged. The harlequin ducks are cruising the shoreline like lost mardi gras celebrants in their flashy feathers and animated postures. The goldeneye ducks have abandoned the frozen inland lakes to winter at the shore. Other than that the waves and beach see impervious to the time of year. Perhaps that is part of the attraction of water. It is so fluid and seems always to be in motion and transition, but it is at the same time it so permanent and infinite, dependable.
It has been said that people are drawn to water as they are salt, sugar, and sex. It is said that we have natural attractions to things that we need to live and a one human quality is that we take these needs to extremes, so that our attraction to water is no different than our attraction to pizza or a sex partner. I have trouble buying that idea. Yeah, we need to drink water but that’s not the same as immersing in water, boating on water, staring at water, and listening to water.
The water connection must be one of the most powerful forces working on our psyche. Our water affinity is more on a common with romantic love, so full of promise and mystery, an offer of hope and wellbeing. The river flows to us and past us, coming from an undefined place and staying for a moment then is off to the future, to the sea that stretches out forever touching foreign lands and distant dates not yet on the calendar. The lake, the pond, the puddle all draw our imaginations into their depths too dark to show what’s below but light enough to let us know something is there. What child un-leased after a rain doesn’t rush to the nearest puddle, toys and trikes forsaken for a chance to stomp and splash or dig canals to link puddles and ditches with the tenacity of the beaver.
Some would call it genetic memory, our water attraction, a return to the sea where our primogenitors first came out from the salt water and breathed air. Or is it that we are mostly water in make up, and in our first home, the womb, we were suspended in water. Maybe we are born into the water cycle, and it here that we are strengthened, calmed, inspired, and uplifted by any time we can feel its motion, hear its roar, smell it’s salt, and let it wash around our feet.
We are in fact water mammals. Not because we live in the water, but because we long for it like a first love, the last dance, the warm hearth. Mother Earth, Father Time, Lover Water.
And so I remain, sitting by my lake in the rain dreaming of rivers flowing to the sea where all answers are found if we listen and ask the right question.
Next time: Water, is there such a thing as too much of a good thing?