Water plays an important role in my life. I grew up near the James River in Richmond, Virginia and always felt calmer when I walked or drove past it. As a kid, I loved playing in the little creeks that fed into the river and even in the intermittent streams that flowed briefly through my backyard after a heavy rain. I could get lost for hours watching the ripples on the water, the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees onto the riverbanks and the sound of the water rushing or trickling around rocks depending on the volume of recent rain up stream.
Perhaps that love of water had something to do with the first career I chose after college. My degree in geology led me to work for an engineering firm as a hydrogeologist where I learned to model the flow of groundwater and design remediation systems for polluted groundwater near gas stations, landfills or railyards. I left that career decades ago, but I still can imagine the ground water flow as I look out on any landscape. Open water in ponds, lakes rivers and the ocean continue to fascinate me, and I have a primal need to visit bodies of water whenever possible.
Gurgling mountain streams are particularly meditative bodies of water for me. I love the sounds, but also feel the energy released as water races past rocks. The air is typically cooler and refreshing near a stream or pond, but there is also a distinct vibration I can feel from the ions released as the water touches the air, especially where there is a fountain or waterfall. At the ocean, I always feel that energy as waves crash and recede along the shore. Perhaps the naiads of Greek mythology came about because others felt the energy released by bodies of water, especially moving bodies of water?
At any rate, for me, I know that there are times when I need to go for a walk by the river or I need to see the waves crash on the beach to recharge my energy. I moved away from the James River after college but often return for walks on its banks. There are no ponds or open creeks near my house, so I make a point of driving past a pond on my way to work each morning and periodically take a walk by the lake at Deep Run Park on my way home. When my life is particularly challenging, I make time daily to see or be near bodies of water that re-center and recharge my soul. Over the past few weeks, I have taken more time to meditate on the healing power of water and feel like this is an area I want to explore more.