“When I sit here by the sea and listen to the sound of the waves, I feel free from all obligations and the people of the world.”
Writer Henry David Thoreau was seated beside the ocean at the time those words came to mind. But, you don’t have to find a body of water as enormous as the sea to be calmed or cooled by it.
Feeling stressed or simply overheated by the season?
Go find water.
Sit by it. Walk beside it. Simply stand and face it, watching and listening to its motion, perhaps as a gentle stream cascades down a creek or as a lake gently laps against its shore.
It’s difficult to avoid the feeling of peace and tranquility enveloping you.
If there are waves, be lulled by their steady rhythm. Even when those breakers are at their most violent, there seems to be a voice emanating from them—is nature speaking?—that soothes the soul.
“They both listened silently to the water,” writer Hermann Hesse wrote in “Siddhartha,” “which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.”
Obviously, the mind of Hesse exceeded mere thoughts of going boating and maybe doing a little water skiing. But, to each his own thoughts—physical or philosophical—while sitting on or pushing yourself away from the shore.
To some, that might mean feeling blessed that on a hot summer weekend day we have the opportunity to sit beside a pool and watch the children or grandchildren splash and scream together with glee.
Others might draw energy from waves crashing against a breakwall or, alternately, discover an inner power by listening to water rush over and around rocks in rapids.
Still more people might find the tension of a typically exhausting day draining from them simply by silently watching a small pond that is glistening from the light that speckles its surface at sunset.
Wading at the edge of a beach can be a calming walk. The most hushed elements of existence, as it turns out, are absorbed from the sand and the tide through the feet. They travel to the mind and calm us.
So, let us seek these things during the heat of the summer.
Run through sprinklers. Dive into pools. Paddle down streams—or up streams if you feel the passion. Skim across the top of lakes. And, while on vacation on an island or at a coast, stare out at the sea to spot a whale. If it breaches, the memory of the sight is yours to keep forever.
Soak in all you can from the water as the season passes. And, summer indeed will lead to fall. It’s inevitable.
“Life in us is like the water in a river,” Thoreau once wrote.
Water flows. And, to get the most out of our lives, we should allow them to flow with the water that is all around us.