The last few days, I’ve seen the saying being posted on Facebook “Saltwater is the cure for everything. Sweat, tears or the sea.” I’ve seen it before, but I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I get near the ocean, I immediately I feel my heart slow down and my face breaks into a grin. When I’m away from it for too long, I feel the tension in my shoulders.
I recently wrote about my experiences taking my first-ever cruise. Even though we were “on” the ocean, I just didn’t feel the connection. That was until the ship stopped in St. Maarten and I got in the water and rode around the island on a catamaran. I could feel the wind in my hair and the boat rise and fall with the waves. That’s when I realized what I’d been missing. On the last day before we pulled into port, the cruise ship encountered a nor’easter off North Carolina. I spent several hours that day outside on the lowest deck I could find just watching the waves and reveling in the blue of the ocean and the churn of the sea foam. I could feel “my” ocean. I will say, though, the sunset out on the ocean like that are spectacular.
As I’ve traveled, I’ve always (mostly unconsciously) looked for water and tried to connect with it wherever I was. On my first visit to St. Petersburg, Russia, I climbed down to the water’s edge to touch the Gulf of Finland. I tasted it on my fingers to see if it was any different. It’s not all about the ocean, though. I still enjoy going to Summersville Lake in West Virginia where I first learned to scuba dive to blow some bubbles. No, they aren’t the most exciting dives in the world, but it’s still a chance to make that connection to water.
Two acquaintances of mine are doing tremendous work when it comes to demonstrating the importance of water in our daily lives.
- Annie Crawley is an underwater photographer who has carved out her niche as an educator, speaker and author on the ocean. She developed Dive Into Your Imagination as a way to spur kids into caring about and understanding the ocean. She has created books and CDs for children (and adults) to help them connect with the ocean on a personal level. Follow Dive Into Your Imagination on Facebook as well.
- Jill Heinerth is an underwater explorer, cave diver and filmmaker. She recently created the We Are Water Project to help others understand the connectedness of our water supplies and the world around us. She is developing a documentary on the water systems we use daily to help us all understand that our water doesn’t just come out of a faucet, but it comes from deep inside our planet and it is a finite resource. Jill, by the way, has actually dived inside many of those aquifers and underground streams and can show you amazing imagery of the water beneath your feet. Follow We Are Water Project on Facebook.
As I write this, I’ve just come back from spending the afternoon at the pool with my kids, taking some time to relax in the water. Its 100 degrees and just about insufferable to be outside if you aren’t up to your nose in water. At a time when freshwater supplies and drying up or being used up—the Colorado River no longer regularly makes it to the Gulf of California, for example—and droughts parch the southwestern United States among other places around the world, I’m growing concerned that our connection to water might just be failing. As Jill Heinerth says, “Our bodies are 70 percent water and our planet is 70 percent water. We are water.”