“Petal skin and violet eyes
There’s night sky all around me
Big, blue oceans inside of me
Swimming inside of me”
Venus Hum [alice]
There’s something special to me about water, no matter if an ocean, lake, stream, or bathtub. Water cleanses, purifies, buoys you up and makes you weightless. Water can rinse dirt of the day and your troubles away.
I grew up in Baltimore County, and never far away from the rivers that all lead to the Chesapeake Bay. Our first house was right on Middle River, which I wouldn’t swim in – there were a lot of boat docks and marinas, and the river often had that stagnant, rotty smell that brackish water gets in the summertime. Living there was the way for me to sit on the pier in Kingston Park and watch crabs and minnows and catfish and other aquatic life glide by, while I dreamed a better life for myself.
The Bay was a part of my life for half my years on this planet. I managed to go to a college on the St. Mary’s River, which opens up into the Potomac, then into the Bay. In fact, one of my favourite things to do in my time there – besides my usual crab-watching from the pier next to my dorm – was to go to Point Lookout, which is surrounded by my beloved water, and during storms could be a dangerously lovely place to go. The point was connected to the mainland by a rather narrow two lane road, and when storms came in, the waves would sometimes engulf the road, crashing down in their perilous beauty. It was a good reminder that the ocean could be capricious, and never taken lightly.
When I moved to Charlottesville, that was the end of my Ocean days and the beginning of Mother Mountain days. She lured me in, with those Shenandoah majesties, and although she’s kept her hold on me… I still carry the Ocean in my heart.
That’s why taking a long bath can be a meaningful ritual to me – it gives me the tiniest taste of what I’ve left behind, and I capitalize on that experience by making the ritual involved and nurturing for me. It is the thing that I do when I know my soul needs repair, when my heart’s heavy, when I just need to drift.
I think these things are very important to one’s psyche. I have other rituals, too, and other ways to surround myself with beautiful and meaningful things that lift me up. What do you do for yourself? What refills and repairs your soul?