Have you ever noticed how you react to water?
Water soothes my soul. I grew up on a lake in Minnesota. I can sit beside a lake for hours, enjoying the gentle lapping of water onto the sand.
Kayaking out onto the lake, watching the fish swim up closely to investigate or enjoy the respite of the shadow gliding through the water. Watching the hypnotic swaying of the seaweed back and forth to unseen movement below the surface. Bobbing along rolling swells while stopping to rest in my favorite “corner” of the lake, I lose myself in the spiraling soar of the eagle overhead.
One glimpse of the elusive loon and the destination of my homeward paddle quickly morphs into a hide and seek adventure to find more fleeting moments admiring the speckled feathers and bright red eyes of my sleek neighbor.
Even when I lived in West Africa, if I climbed up to the top of my house, I could see the reflection of the sun off the Niger river a mile or so away. Knowing water was near, I’d make the occasional trip to an overlook outside of town where I could listen to the hippos ”laugh” while the setting sun appeared to light the river on fire.
In part because we don’t live near a water source in Oregon, we built a waterfall in our backyard, just to satiate the thirst my soul has for water. Sitting next to the tumbling waters for the first time in Spring is what inspired me to capture in words the powerful, peaceful impact it’s had on my life.
We know that our bodies are made up largely of water. I don’t think my soul is made of water, I just know that it craves it. Water quiets the chatter in my head and ushers in peace, reflection, thoughtfulness, and also an opportunity to get lost in its mesmerizing movement.
And then there’s the ocean. I happily now live only about two hours away from it, the closest by far in my lifetime. The strong, unstoppable surges that rhythmically beat the shoreline and anything in its way demands my attention, and can also calm me like a lullaby.
On a recent trip to the Washington coast, I was captivated by the crashing waves launching pebbles and rocks in to the air as they hit the shore. Even small waves were displacing the earth. It appeared that the rocks were attempting to leap from the crash zone of the waves, to avoid being pummeled.
The thundering crashing surf on an east coast winter’s night was the background for one of the more intense and personal encounters I’ve ever had with the God. Worship, my complete, undivided attention, appreciation and adoration, was the only appropriate response. And again, water was the catalyst.
The intense emotions and connection I feel to nature and to God seem often to be fueled by my experiences with water. I think all of our souls thirst for that deep connection. The imagery I create is drawn from that deep well of experience and connection with the peacefulness I find in water. May you enjoy that same peace as you experience my creations.