Tuesday, July 4

Water and Peace: A Connection

I know this may come as a huge shock to all of you, but the fact is I'm pretty much a pragmatist--a realist. Now don't get me wrong, I'm also a dreamer and a good bit of the time, I infinitely prefer the fictional worlds I or others of my favorite authors create. But I really don't buy all the astrology stuff, even though I pretty much fit the description of your average Libra. Loves harmony, hates confrontation--anyone who knows me will tell you that I'd rather have my gums scraped than have a confrontation. Laid-back and a bit of a flirt? Yeah, probably. Puts too much pressure on herself to make others happy? Absolutely. Indecisive? Um, I'm not sure. Happiest when everyone they love is happy? You betcha.

But the element for Libra is air--and that kinda surprises me because I'm such a water person; although I do realize that the elements aren't so much about where we want to be as they are about who we are. However, the fact is I need water. I need water like a plant needs water to survive. And not the sea--the sea is too much for me--I'm a lake person through and through. When life gets hard, I turn to the water--to the lake. . . and lately, life's been hard for me.

Last month, I lost my oldest and dearest friend to a five-year siege with cancer. She fought with everything she had and I stood in her corner and cheered her on, sat with her through three years of wicked chemo treatments, and played endless games of gin and Farkle to keep her mind off the chemistry being poured into her. She was unable to travel to come to the lake with me, so with texts and photos, I took the lake to her. The last month of her life, all I could do was hold her hand and make sure she knew I was there and I loved her.  When her little body finally gave up the fight, I knew it was the best thing for her to be set free, but the ache in my heart is still fearsome and I miss her every single day.

And that's where the water comes in--the lake is my comfort zone, my peace place, where I go to breathe and heal. The best part is when I can get into the water and be weightless and free, move every part of my body, knowing I'm exercising, but not feeling like it. But even when I'm not actually in the water, I can see it from my window as I write or edit--the shimmer of the current, the sun gleaming off the mirror surface of the bay. On a peaceful weather day, the water is smooth as glass, but sometimes a storm whips white caps on the water, and you can go out on the dock and feel the lake on your face and the wind in your hair. 

Maybe my need for water has nothing whatsoever to do with my astrological sign, but it's always been there for as long as I can remember. Even as a kid, I found peace in my soul when my mom would take our family camping in Michigan. Walking along the sandy shore, diving into the waves, watching the sun set into the water were things I looked forward to all the long dreary months of winter. It's the reason that I always say "Michigan" when Liz and I talk about where to go on our writing vacations, although honestly, I could just as easily say "Ohio" or "New York" or "Kentucky" because there are gorgeous lakes there, too. Anyplace with a lake works for me.

And in case you haven't noticed, lakes, one in particular, play an important role in the stories I write. My heroines long for water too and live in the places I would love to live. My fictional towns are always on the shore of a lake. I can't imagine writing a story that didn't happen on or near fresh water.

I'm not really sure what the point of this post is, except to say that I've gotten to swim in the lake twice this week and it's been lovely and stress-relieving and peaceful. Now I'm wondering, where's your peaceful place? What kind of geography eases your soul? And do your characters end up there?

Happy Independence Day, Everyone!

10 comments:

  1. A great post, whether there is a point or not! My peaceful place is right here at my office window. Mountains and crashing waves sooth my soul, too, but I can't call on them at will, so the window with its perpetual view of fields and trees is it.

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    1. Your view is first-rate, Liz, no question. In winter, at the city house, I have the same view--trees and fields and it's just fine too because as much as I love water, I have no interest in going South for the winter. I like snow and being all snug in my house.

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  2. I'm a water person too. My sign is Cancer, so I guess maybe that was destined. However, the ocean is my place, but I live in Indiana. When I sit on the beach, I feel every wave washes away my stress and soothes my soul. My bedroom and kitchen are beach themed. That helps.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Anna! Yeah, if you can't be there, make it happen where you are...great idea! I love France, so my kitchen in the city is pretty Provence-looking. Isn't it grand we can do that?

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  3. So sorry for the loss of your friend. I have always liked being around water and one of my most memorable childhood vacations was to Niagara Falls. The Maid of the Mist ride and stories of people going over in barrels are etched in my mind. Lately, about any travels will do, even to the rolling hills of southern Indiana, most recently.

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    1. Hi, Cathy! Thank you--appreciate your sympathy. I've been to Niagara Falls--it's awesome to see, but the Maid of the Mist ride sorta freaked me out. Dunno why. I also have an uncontrollable urge to toss something over the falls, so best I'm not the one carrying the car keys! ;-) Anyplace new is almost always a lovely adventure--the hills in Southern Indiana are gorgeous!

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  4. Water. Always water. I don't know if it has anything to do with being an Aquarius or the fact that I grew up as a Navy brat--always near a body of water..or that I settled in the PNW--again always near water. I love the roar of the ocean and the scent of seawater. I love the calmness of a stream, the quirkiness of a creek as it bends around rocks and roots of trees that shelter it. I love the gentle lap of a lake, the rush of a waterfall, and the flow of a river. I love rain in all forms but most of all after a long, dry summer. I even love the sound of a sprinkler in the early morning and the way the water sparkles on the cement in rays of sun.

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    1. Oh, Margie, I think we were sisters in a previous life. I'm not into the sea so much, but lakes, yes! And rain and rivers and creeks and little babbling brooks.

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  5. I guess my peaceful place is my home. I enjoy travel, but when all is said and done, I love coming home.

    Give yourself some time to grieve your friend in your peaceful place at the lake. So sorry for your loss.

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    1. You and Liz are alike in the coming home thing--although, I confess to always being glad to get home from travel. It's funny though, now that we have 2 homes, either one works. Thanks, Jana--the lake does make the sorrow easier to bear.

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