Three unfortunate incidents forever changed my view of expansive bodies of water.
In 1959, my life jacket got caught on a rope dangling from a swim raft on a Caribou, Maine Lake.
Were it not for the actions of an observant young man watching from the shore; I might not be here to tell you this tale. I’ve spent a lifetime silently thanking him for saving me that day.
In 1967, while hanging out with friends on Nash’s Pond in Westport, Connecticut, we witnessed a ginormous snapping turtle crawling out of the water.
The combination of its scary, dinosaur-like appearance and aggressive behavior towards us resulted in its untimely death at the hands of the youngest guy in our group. I’ve also spent a lifetime horrified by the senseless murder of the upside-down turtle by impalement.
It was only yesterday that I read online that female snapping turtles travel on land to lay their eggs and are at their most aggressive. So in all probability, we tortured and killed a soon-to-be mommy.
In 1981 I was on a 27-foot sailboat that nearly capsized in a storm that came out of freaking nowhere.
So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I have water issues.
I never venture into any large body of water, and yet I have this weird obsession with it.
So much so that it’s on my bucket list to one day live on the water’s front.
But most definitely in a high rise.
I fear all vast bodies of water, and yet they calm me. The spilling, plunging, surging, and pounding of the waves as they crash onto the shore causes my heart to race, and not in a good way.
I can’t count the number of times I have covered my eyes while watching a rough and turbulent ocean in movies, including in the film Frozen, when Anna and Elsa’s parents perish in a stormy sea. Fast forward!
And yet the sheer beauty, power, and sound of water go a long way to healing my heart. My go-to Alexa request when I can’t sleep is the crashing of waves.
For me, spending time near water is as effective and way more immediate than any sedative. Even though it scares the bejesus out of me.
And nothing cures my writers’ block more than sitting at the water’s edge. Words, sentences, and entire paragraphs churn over and over in my head, mirroring the waves rolling and frothing close to me.
But not too close.
There is a theory called “blue mind,” which concludes that being near, in, on, or under the water can make us happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what we do.
I’ll agree that I feel a profound water-associated peace whenever I’m near an ocean, sea, river, or lake.
But to be clear, there is no way I would ever go in, on, or under any body of water.
Years ago, I self-diagnosed myself as having thalassophobia vs. aquaphobia because I’m not afraid of the water per se. It’s what’s lurking beneath its surface that freaks me out.
I’m obsessively drawn to the feel and sound of it. Just don’t put me in it.
The light reflecting off the water surface, the sound of the rising tide, and the spray of the sea on my face remind me that I’m in the right place.
I suppose it’s my brain on blue.
Oh, if it were only possible to stay in a Blue-Mind forever.
Yesterday while anxiously waiting in a parking lot for a special someone who was having craniofacial surgery, the song Blue World by The Moody Blues came on the radio.
It’s A Blue World
by The Moody Blues
Heart and soul took control
Took control of me
Paid my dues, spread the news
Hands across the sea
Put me down, turned me round
Turned me ’round to see
Marble halls, open doors
Someone found the key
And it’s only what you do
That keeps coming back on you
And it’s only what you say
That can give yourself away
Underground sight and sound
Heard the voice, had no choice
Needed to be free
Fly me high, touch the sky
Left the earth below
Heard the line, saw the sign
Knew which way to go
’cause it’s easier to try
Than to prove it can’t be done
And it’s easier to stay
Than to turn around and run
It’s a blue world
It takes somebody to help somebody
Oh, it’s a blue world
It’s a new world