I was drawn to the water from a young age. My family called me a fish, because I was always in the pool until my skin would prune. My brother and I would walk up our dirt road to a place that we found where we would sit on moss-covered rocks by a stream that rippled through the woods. The house I grew up in had a lake and two ponds within a mile radius, where we would water ski, kayak and swim in the summer and ice skate in the winter. The Atlantic Ocean was always freezing cold in the North East, but we would swim in it anyway on hot August days.
Living in Colorado, being land-locked, means that I spend most of my vacation time in places where I can be near water. Costa Rica draws me every year not only for yoga, but also for her beaches and waterfalls, and we hop down to Mexico every January for long weekends of scuba diving so I can drift silently among the fish and turtles. We camp in a spot that we have claimed as ours, surrounded on three sides by a creek.
Last year, during Ride the Rockies, as I pedaled over 400 miles through the mountains of Colorado, my favorite days were when the road would follow along a river. I had hours on the bike to contemplate my love for water, and why it calms me. I thought about all of the ways that I can relate to the river. Like a river, I am always moving, flowing through life, taking new things in and carrying them with me until they no longer serve me, then depositing them along the shore. When I encounter obstacles, I may need to change course or find a way through, over or around, but I keep moving forward. Sometimes I change those who I come into contact with – molding them or smoothing out their edges. I can be unintentionally destructive when my life is stormy. My life’s goal is to provide nourishment so those around me can grow and thrive.
Water gives life and can be gentle and peaceful, but also powerful enough to carve canyons, change landscapes, or even take lives. Water can change form from liquid to solid, and back again. It reminds us that the only constant is change, but that we have the tools and resources to keep moving through it all. I’ll leave you with this from E.E. Cummings, ““For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It's always our self we find in the sea.”