THE LOVE OF THE WATER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

What is it about water that so many people find endlessly fascinating and soul soothing? People pay top dollar to live in homes that have a view of water – any water – ocean, lake, pond, marsh, stream. Prime vacation spots are often on, in or near the water.

I love the sound of our backyard mini waterfall. I can also sit and look at it for hours. The sound of waves lapping onto the shore have been recorded innumerable times for relaxation tapes, sleep aids and comfort for newborns.

 

People also love the feel of water; pushing through the fingers, falling onto the hand, resisting a closed palm, like in swimming. People walk with their feet in the water at beaches and swim anywhere they can, both under the water and on top. There are a plethora of gadgets to help you play in the water, from inner tubes to noodles, paddle-boards, beach balls, etc. There are also too many water sports to even try to list.

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There is a theory that our obsession with water is rooted in our time in our mother’s womb. As fetuses, we float in the uterus in a protective amniotic fluid, gently rocked as our mothers move. We may even hear the sounds of swooshing water. Which could explain the universality of humans’ love affair with water.

But it doesn’t explain why only some people seek the water in many different aspects of their lives.

Personally, we choose to live in the woods — but we own a boat. Listening to water slapping against our hull is our version of Nirvana. Our boat is big enough so we’re not close to the waterline when on-board.

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So we have an inflatable dinghy that we drive around. In that, we are as close to the water level as you can get, like in a canoe or a rowboat. I can’t resist putting my hands in the water and opening my fingers as we ride through the water. I love the sound of the little boat pushing through the water, punctuated by the percussion bursts of waves breaking against its sides.

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I don’t have any earth-shattering conclusions to make. I’m sure there are research studies out there on the subject. It’s just that I’m on my boat enjoying being on the water and wondering why it is so satisfying for me. I had a swimming pool and a pond during summers growing up but no one in my family went to beaches or liked boats. We were city folks who ‘roughed it’ in the countryside of Fairfield County, CT during our summer vacations.

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So I have no family history or childhood memories to fall back on, except the pool and the pond. Maybe that, combined with my primal connection with amniotic fluid, is enough.

8 thoughts on “THE LOVE OF THE WATER – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

    1. Good point, Leslie! I think there is a universal fascination with water that indicates something very basic and physiological about our love of water. So many people flock to beaches, rivers, lakes and oceans to relax and vacation, there must be some significant pull to the water. It really is fascinating. And I just discovered my love of being on the water later in life. I loved to swim growing up but had no relationship with boats and I don’t like beaches (it’s the sand I don’t like, I love the waves and the water).

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      1. Ellin, I love the time we spend with you and Tommie aboard “The Serenity”.

        I love the serene setting. I can indulge in fantasies from Hemingway to Fitzgerald to John D. MacDonald (The Travis McGee novels. I often imagine I’m aboard McGee’s “Busted Flush” boat, working on a complicated case with all the intangibles offered in those scenarios.

        I love the company and friendship provided by You and Tommie. Peaceful.

        I look forward to our next boat day.

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  1. For me, it’s the sound, but it’s also the smell. Something about the salt near the ocean and the hint of marsh and swamp. Brings back ancient memories. I’m not much of a beach goes otherwise. Too much sand in too many places, but I still love the feel of it, the heat of hot sand, and standing on the shore feeling the tide pull the sand away from my feet. Makes me feel about 12 again!

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    1. I agree with you about beaches. The sand sucks, but everything else is magical. Particularly the waves coming up onto the shore and pulling the sand out from under your feet! I prefer rivers and lakes to the ocean anyway. I’d rather have a boat ride on a lake where there is beautiful scenery, than on the ocean, where you see nothing but water and horizen most of the time.

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  2. There is so much to say to this post that I waited for a ‘window of thoughts’ in my life. Pls hang on – I WILL come back to it, just not right now…. 🙂

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