I don’t know what it is about water bodies. Why are they calming? Why do they feel like a small escape? Why am I so drawn to them? From the sometimes grimy Amsterdam Canals, to Lake Kivu, to the River Ganges, to small ponds, to the big vast ocean, something about water bodies has a command over my mind, they can clear my mind, they can numb it, they can give that boost of the serotonin when I need it, they can make me see beauty where I wouldn’t normally…
They make me feel so many things.
When I swim at an empty lake on a hot summer day and then take a nap, falling asleep to slight sloshing sounds of the water, buzzing of dragonflies and the soft breathing of my companions.
When I’m sad in the bitter cold and go and sit by a canal, looking at the night lights reflecting on the water and somehow feeling ever so slightly better. I would not just go and sit on the street in the winter if it were not for the canal. I see it everyday and yet it still heals me. How do these things work I wonder?
When I’m walking along the Thames and see the vastness of the cityscape along its banks, I think about the places it runs and its eternal flow, this very sophisticated cycle of water. Geographically simple but emotionally tied to so much. It is such a wonder to see the wide river and life that it both births, attracts and carries away, eventually leading to a gigantic metropolis. The vastness is comforting and it makes my worries feel like a mere tiny hurdle.
When I’m on the train looking for inspiration while writing and see a muddy lake perfectly reflected the yellow blossomed trees protecting it. A beautiful yet fleeting image, a nice break from the fields I see.
When I look at the gargantuan Lake Kivu and my mind is rendered calm by the amazement at how the large lake looks like the ocean and has fed the regions with life since with the forming of that Albertine Rift so long ago, before any of us..
When I walk over a pretty yet rickety bridge in the Indian countryside, while the monsoon unleashes wrath upon me and the river is rushing faster and stronger than usual, the harsh water sounds calming me as I see colourful flowers being dragged along by the rushing river.
When I see the rituals on the Ganges and feel and see how much the river gives, receives and maintains lives, I am enlivened. The intricate natural and human social systems merging, forming an environment of endless interest and stimulation for my wondering and wandering mind.
When the child in me sees the frog leaping around the pond in her friend’s garden and is once again fascinated by the delicate ecosystem of the small pond, the small insects and the tadpoles navigating the water and the wet greenery.
When festivals make the banks of the Sabarmati lively with colour, music, food and happiness and all I can do is relish in the energy and life, a nice little distraction.
When I snorkel and see fish, coral and starfish, marvelling at the bright blue and how far I can see, at the depth and vastness of the ocean, wondering how far away I am from the pontoon, I am taken to the deep dark depths of the ocean and myself.
When I sit by the beach at night and look at how the moon and ocean have the moment, as the tides crash onto the rocks and calm me as I drink a hot tea under a small lantern on the veranda.
Just as the water does, I could go on and on. So many water bodies, some ferocious, some more still, yet all somehow knowing and calming.
Water bodies are always there for me. Vast, small, energetic, lazy, shallow, deep, dirty, clean, busy, still and every possible emotion and state humans can be. A statement of our connection to the earliest and essential of life.
What water bodies soothe you?