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     What is it about water that draws us to it?  Obviously, there is our biological need, but I'm thinking beyond thirst and cellular replenishment.  I've heard that fire and flowing water are mesmerizing to humans like few other phenomena.  Think of how one stares into the dancing red and orange of a campfire or in a fireplace on a cold evening in midwinter.  Remember the breathy sound of surf, the constant roar of a whitewater river, or even the arrhythmic patter of rainfall on a roof.  Then there's the sight of water: foamy, white highlights on a blustery day, tranquil hues of blue, coffee rivers, black ponds.  Ripples, waves, riffles, the motion of water, its (usually) fresh odor, and the variety of life it attracts; bodies of water supply a nearly inexhaustible supply of beauty and fascination.
My daughter at the Gulf of Mexico, Florida
     Water is not only necessary to sustain life, but is used in healing rituals around the world and has been since probably religion started.  Think of baptism and its symbolic prototypes: Noah and his ark, the Israelites crossing the muddy floor of a split Red Sea, Naaman the Syrian general commanded to bathe seven times in the Jordan River in order to be healed of leprosy.
Little Traverse Bay, Petoskey, Michigan

See, I can't stay out of it.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Ice, snow, hail, rain—water in its myriad forms draws our fear, anger, curiosity, and joy.  I feel the pull of water every time I am near some natural body of it—swimming pools have never had the same effect on me.  Perhaps it is the pool’s sterility or the chlorinated smell—I am compelled if not to jump in and swim in a lake, pond, or stream, then at least to put my hands or sandaled feet in it.  In summer’s heat especially, the liquid magnetism draws me ever near—even with a threat of leeches or creeping, clawing crayfish, lurking pike with needle-like teeth, or hiding-in-the-muck snapping turtles.

Swimming in the Midnight Hole, Big Creek, GSMNP
      Prior to my teenaged years, my family spent two glorious weeks at my maternal Grandparent’s place on Manitoulin Island.  Most days I was found swimming in Honora Bay shortly after breakfast, down by the “government dock.”  I came out for a lunch break, again for dinner, and then came out for good for the day at dusk.  I’ve never developed immunity to that particular siren’s call.  I’ve swum in all the Great Lakes, but for Ontario (I’ve even been swimming in the middle of that junior Great Lake: St. Clair).  Ponds and rivers all over both peninsulas of Michigan have refreshed me.  The Atlantic Ocean has enveloped me as well, though sometimes it was just over my feet or knees.  From Nova Scotia and Maine, New Hampshire’s tiny slice of beach front property, Cape Cod, Virginia, including the brackish James River, down to both coasts of Florida.

First time in Lake Superior!
    My children have picked up this compulsion (it obviously didn’t originate with me) even going so far as to take their first swim in Lake Superior last month.  The only kind of disappointment that I enjoy hearing from my children is when they don’t want to get out of the water when it has become time to depart.  I pray my grandchildren will be the same way.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Exploring a shipwreck at PRNL
Pictured Rocks NL

                 So why does water pull me so?  Who needs to think about it?  Come on, the water looks good.  I bet I can go under before you can.


LifeLessons said…
I too am a fellow Michigander. It is by far the most underrated state. I hope to keep following you and look forward to your next post. I'm new at this whole blog thing, but I'm excited to be a part of it now. :) check mine out? Follow? Comment? I'm just new :)

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