“Do you guys specifically seek out places to live that are near bodies of water,” my friend Melissa asked me as we watched the brook tumbling past the hiking trail we followed in the pouring rain. The trailhead was located across the street from my condo complex. “You always seem to find homes that are close to the water.”
Her question gave me pause, but as I thought more about our last few homes, I realized she had a point. Here, there is the brook that bisects that Mattabesset River, just a couple miles away. At our previous home, a man-built pond lay at the bottom of the hill in our yard. Before that, we were the closet to a beach that I’ve ever lived. And before that, lush flowers filled our yard, giving way to an above-ground, saltwater pool that sat unhindered beneath the sky.
I love the flash of slate blue rippling across craggy rocks. The steady, though meandering flow of moving water becomes my drishti–my point of focus and concentration as I meditate on the lessons of nature:
The river is constantly turning and bending and you never know where it’s going to go and where you’ll wind up. Following the bend in the river and staying on your own path means that you are on the right track. Don’t let anyone deter you from that.
The ocean–though not necessarily the beach–is one of my happy places as well. My mind is focuses and becomes hypnotized by the ebb and flow of the tide. Peace lies somewhere in the din of the thunder and roar of crashing waves.
the oceancan calm itself,so can you.weare bothsalt watermixed withair.― Nayyirah Waheed
Yet inner peace also can be found by me in the midst of the woods, beneath the protective cover of long-limbed trees and among the leafy plumage of flora. Water purifies, energizes and empowers me, while greenery centers, grounds and replenishes me. Green is quite literally sign of life–of nourishment and vibrancy. I find these things as well when I fully observe and take in the verdant landscape.
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—
air, mountains, trees, people. I thought,
‘This is what it is to be happy.’
I grew up among the hills, surrounded by trees and close neighbors with the fauna. I swallowed the fresh breezes, drawing the oxygen deeply into the lungs, carrying it straight to the heart and then passing through the paper-thin walls of alveoli before slipping into my blood. Now, as an adult, when I’ve spent far too long behind the desk–breathing in the stale air of the indoors for hours on end–stepping across the threshold of front door immediately releases some of the tension. My eyes catch on a furry squirrel leaping from the trees and running across the railing of the back deck, and I regain my sense of curiosity, wonder and awe.
“As long as lush greenery is somewhere close by, I am happy,” I told my friend. “When trees are near, it feels like home.