There’s something very healing about water.

Growing up our lives, and that of the river behind our house, were marked by the seasons. We’d measure the rise of the river in spring, canoe on the still water while the dragonflies hovered around us in summer, watch the leaves drift away on the current in autumn and then see the ice overtake it in winter.

Observing the life of the river came naturally. Shored by trees, bushes and rushes and inhabited by birds, bears, moose, otters, and beavers. The occasional splash of a fish, the call of a loon, the quacking of ducks, the sudden lift off of the blue heron hiding in the rushes, the frog diving from the lily pad. All of these things spoke of the rhythms of life. Constantly flowing, growing, dying, hunting, swimming, building.

At times, our lives intertwined with that of the river, too. Swimming in its murky depths, trying not to allow our feet to touch the slimy mud beneath hiding broken beer bottles. Winding down the river in the motorboat, siblings and parents squeezed in among the gas can, the lunch, the fishing rods. Canoeing as quietly as possible upstream and then allowing the current to draw you back downstream, back home.

Quieter moments allowed for introspection, meditation, rest. Looking out the window at the reflection of the moon on the water. Sitting with the family by a roaring bonfire near the riverbank. Watching bats swoop down and eat the mosquitoes.

Water is full of contradiction. Calm and quiet and boisterous and powerful. Beautiful and deadly; it gives life and it can take it. Ever changing, shifting, adapting. Capricious yet constant. By its very nature, fickle and faithful at the same time. And yet, to be near water, for many, is to experience peace, something our world desperately needs more of.

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