Here I am at our get-away house. I LOVE being here near the ocean ~ I love looking out at the water and seeing blue herons and egrets. I wait all year for the pretty pink roseate spoonbills to arrive. Being here always makes me wonder, what is it about being near the water that soothes our souls and keeps us yearning to return? Have you been to the beach lately? People flock to the beaches! What is it about this most basic substance that we find so fascinating?
There is much about the ocean that we should fear… I know how dangerous water can be… we all do, and yet the fear never keeps me away. I find the ocean so humbling. When I stand and look out at the endless water, searching for where the sea and sky meet on the horizon, I feel small and insignificant in the big scheme of things. At the same time, I feel blessed to be part of this amazing Universe.
On a purely scientific basis, I get it… our human body cannot survive without water. W.H. Auden put it very clearly when he said, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” But it is more than that. People constantly write about the fascination we have for something as simple and fundamental as water. We can trace our connection to water all throughout human history in art, music, architecture, and literature; certainly wiser men than I have written astute words and poetic verses about it. Kurt Vonnegut is quoted as saying, “In the water, I am beautiful.”
So, what is it we are truly seeking at the water’s edge? Perhaps it is a mental “holiday” from the stress of our technology-driven lives. Perhaps we need to reconnect with nature in its original state. When I listen to the rhythmic sound of the waves rolling in, I feel my mind and my whole body take a sigh and relax. What I know for sure is that when the sea speaks, my soul is satisfied.