What leads us to water?
What is about water than has us all flocking towards it like migrating birds as soon as the sun comes out? Give us a sunny Sunday or bank holiday weekend and we all head to the nearest beach, lake, river or stream.
Oddly, though, getting in or on the water is not always our main aim. We may take advantage of the good weather to indulge in our favourite watersports, a swim or even a spot of paddling, but often, we go there not to go in, but just to be by the water: to eat a picnic or pub lunch by it, enjoy a glass of wine near it, listen to it or simply gaze at it.
So if we’re not going to take a dip, what is it that draws us to the water on a sunny day off?
Is it the gentle sea breeze that helps us feel cool when the sun is beating down, or the refreshing qualities of sea air, which feels fresher than any other air you can breathe and is said to contain negative ions that can improve our health and wellbeing?
Is it the meditative relaxation that comes from the sound of waves lapping the shore or the gentle flowing of a river, while boats sail serenely past?
Or is it the sheer beauty of the setting, the twinkling and glistening of the sun on the water and the nature that surrounds it?
For me, the draw to the water – especially the coast – is all of this and more. There is an added, almost spiritual experience to taking ourselves out of the centre of life and to gaze out at the vastness of a body of water – our life source – that appears to have no end and no limits.
It can put daily niggles firmly into perspective, and remind us of the cycle of life that we are all a part of. It humbles us, helps us forget our material trappings, and brings us back to what is important: nature, love, our health and the people we love.
So, let’s hit the beach!
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