My whole life, I’ve had a strong connection to water. I’m a water sign (Scorpio) and I grew up on the Jersey Shore, so many of my formative years were spent near and in the ocean.
Water sparks all 5 of my senses. The sound of the waves crashing or the gurgling of a pond. The visual beauty and serenity of the waves. The deep blues. The feel of rushing water on my skin. How I will always instinctively gain my bearings at the shore line as the waves crash over my legs. The smell of the salt air or the refreshing scent of clear spring water. The crisp, cool taste of water as I drink it throughout the day. The way the salty water from the ocean lingers on my lips for hours after I’ve emerged from the ocean.
I crave water. Just the sight of water, even as an image, can instantly calm me. It is equally an invigorating and soothing life force.
Last summer, I had a new experience with water. There are a few creeks and ponds near where I live. I’ve enjoyed watching the rush of the water in a creek, over rocks, and around trees. The stillness of a pond, knowing the rustle of life that exists just below the surface, is awe-inspiring. Yet, in this new moment, I decided to take off my shoes and expose more of my senses to the rushing water of the creek I was visually connected with.
Looking at the creek, I could see the movement of the water. I could see hints of the various rocks and depth changes on the creek floor. But the sight did not and could not prepare me for the physical experience.
The instant my foot submerged in the cool water, my spirit shifted. The world around me seemed to disappear and my entire focus was on the water around my feet. It was intensely invigorating. The water was shallow, only reached my mid-calf at its deepest point, yet the sensations coursed through me with power and determination. The energy of the water made me feel as if all of me were immersed.
I have been in shallow water many times. All the other times were in a calm, protected ocean or bay setting. The clear water of the Caribbean shore line that is as still as a pond for many yards out. Standing in that water, in the same depth, felt completely different. That water is warm and soothing. The sand under my toes is soft and silky. There is a stillness and serenity in that clear, blue-green water.
This creek water was vastly different. Cool and crisp with a surging energy. I could feel the authority and the grace of the creek all at once, even in the shallowness of it. The rocks and gravelly sand shocked my toes and feet to be cautious. I realized quickly that I had to engage my entire body to steady myself. To balance among the rocks and the quick changes in depth, along with the steady rush of the water.
The movement of the water was surprisingly strong and deliberate. The intense energy surging around me. Yet still remaining graceful, subtle, and contained. It was an inspiring combination. Force with deliberate intention and patience. It was a new energy I had never experienced before. Natural, raw, and serene all at once. Not fake or. Real.
All of my senses became hyper focused on being fully present within this energy of this creek. I became engrossed in the creek and its surroundings, yet still only the lower portion of my legs remained under water. The entire ecosystem consumed me as I consumed it. I needed to be one with every aspect. Know where to go and how to get there. Determine which rocks seemed more inviting than others. Use muscles I haven’t before. Know my limits and my strength. Be able to trust myself to fully let go and become one with this new experience.
It was incredibly grounding and humbling. Instinctual and existential. Life-affirming. My mind was operating through my 5 senses only. I wasn’t relying on intellectualizing the situation. There were no complicated emotions influencing my next move. I wasn’t processing or planning or forming opinions or operating based on my mood. I was fully present with only my raw instincts as my guide.
I somehow had to lose myself and find myself all at once.
It was an incredibly powerful moment for me. I was able to channel that energy into my being. Now when I need some serenity, I can close my eyes and vividly remember the sensation of my feet in a creek. And I become a little more alive all over again.