Do you find that summer draws you closer to water?
For many of you it will be the sea, but it could also be a stream, waterfall or lake. Being close to water brings about a special kind of renewal.
The waters of childhood
Do you have memories of a special watery spot from your early years? I loved the rock pools of the Taranaki coast. And I loved another place even more.
As a child I spent my happiest hours sitting on a stone by a river. The Waiongonaiti that flowed along the bottom of my grandparents’ garden was one of dozens of stony streams that tumble down from the snowy peak of Mt Taranaki. They chuckle and gurgle as they make their way down to the sea.
The river filled me with wonder, for it was ever-changing. While its rocky music filled my ears, the play of light on its surface delighted my eyes. I watched yellow-ochre flashes of light descending into Prussian blue depths. Cockabullies, and sometimes eels, glided around rocks. As I watched, spell-bound, time seemed to stand still.
Does this bring up memories for you, of your favourite way of being with water? Is it immersing yourself in the sea, surfing or sailing, floating on a lake, kayaking around the coastline, or sitting with your feet in a hot pool?
Whichever it is, do you feel renewed from being close to water? Scientists talk about negative ions that abound close to crashing waves or waterfalls, but there’s more to it than that. Even being close to an indoor aquarium, has positive health effects.
Scientists now talk of ‘blue health’, ie the soothing effects of water, although how it works is still not known. A marine biologist talks of our inner ‘blue mind’, which is meditative, clear and creative, and says that being close to water evokes the presence of blue mind.
In so many cultures water is the element of cleansing, healing and purification, from the sacred wells of the Celts, the tapu water rituals of the Maori, or the baptisms of many religions. In Chinese medicine, a deep foot bath before bed-time is advised for a good night’s sleep.
A New Zealand woman who now lives and farms in the mid-west of USA, says she often aches with homesickness for the sea. Maybe you have known that feeling? The flatness of the landscape leaves her with a sense of loss.
Water is full of dimension, with reflections taking on the colour of the sky above, and hidden depths that plunge towards the earth. Water has rhythm; in the tides of estuaries and sea shores. Apart from a stagnant pond, water has movement. Even an apparently still lake will still lap quietly against the shore.
I loved your stories
You, my wonderful readers sent me such varied and uplifting stories about your contact with favourite trees, in response to my last newsletter. (If you haven’t already, do go to the blog page and read the comments underneath the post).
Now I’m inviting you to tell me about your favourite rivers, lakes, waterfalls and beaches. And to encourage you to remember the replenishing power of water, to wander towards the sea or whatever water is nearby, even if you are a city dweller. Let the water soothe and replenish you at this time of year, when there is so much to do.
Tacking, and a confession
In my 20s and 30s I enjoyed many sailing adventures. I became accustomed to tacking—the long zig-zags that are necessary when you sail into the wind.
Dear reader, I tacked too far. Sometimes passion sets me sailing further than I need to in a certain direction. I need to pause and reset my jib. I need to sail back in a zag that follows the zig.
When I wrote the web page for my new course, Sacred Earth, I was so charged with inspiration that I ended up rolling two courses into one. (It’s a common mistake for writers. We tend to write the whole book into the first chapter, and then spend months unpacking it.)
Thank you to those who commented or asked questions about the course, and to the person who asked, ‘Can I do it if my situation isn’t dire?’ Thank you to another who said, ‘But I’m already connected to the earth.’
Here’s the harbour
Of course you are, so many of you. So let me reassure you that Sacred Earth has been created with you in mind. It will deepen the connection you already have. We’ll be exploring green energy (trees and plants), blue energy (water) and lots more.
The words I hear a lot in my reading are ‘re-wilding’ and ‘re-enchantment’. Yes, the course will re-wild and re-enchant you. It will bring about great well-being that arises from relationship with the mysterious, ever-changing world of nature.
When you are filled with the mystery, recharged and overflowing, that’s when you may wish to give back. Giving back will be the theme of another course. But for now, Sacred Earth is about filling you up and bringing you into a depth of partnership with nature.
I’ve rewritten the web page, and I’d love to know what you think. You can take a look at it here.
Tacking. In the end, after setting your jib, the boat takes you across the water, towards your destination. Thanks for joining me on this tack, and I hope you enjoy sailing into the harbour with me.
Water is sufficient . . . the spirit moves over water.