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Live Life Well
Water. Talk about a liquid asset. So beautiful, it makes your head swim.
Water’s my happy place. Whenever I’m around it, peace saturates me & I visibly relax.
Since I was fortunate enough to have parents who either owned a boat, a pool, summered in a cabin near a lake or lived in locations near the beach, water has always shaped my memories. By citizenship, I’m American. By upbringing, I’m amphibian.
Time out here to bow to the memory of my stepfather, Frank Willey, who was a
jocular man with a perpetual smile & generous beyond words. He loved the water,
named me his first mate, & filled my childhood with aquatic adventures. I can’t
shake the feeling that he’s winking (his signature trademark) at me as I write this.
It all started when my dad dropped me into our above-the-ground backyard pool at two years of age without the benefit of a flotation device. Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home. Although my unorthodox first swimming lesson would be considered a form of child endangerment nowadays; in my case, there’s no denying, it kicked off a lifelong love affair with water.
Blue forever into the horizon, Jensen Beach, FL
The Nuptial Journey
(Reflections on 30 years of marriage)
Laugh Lines are Sexy
How to Stop Saying Yes When You Mean No
The Dalai Palma
When Nature Pulls a Fast One
Celebrating our favorite aunt's birthday at Stingray City, Grand Cayman
A Mulligan (Life's Second Chances)
Oddly, my first scuba diving experience wasn’t much different. Here’s the scene: I plunged into water with 3-4 foot spray-capped swells and breaking chop off a platoon boat in the Florida Keys with no former training or experience. Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home. Despite the fact I felt as though I might have drowned at any moment, it was an exhilarating, if not slightly illicit experience.
Few travel episodes have lodged so vividly in my consciousness as my underwater sojourns with sharks when my husband and I were snorkeling in the sparkling turquoise water of Belize’s Shark-Ray Alley in choppy seas. Since there were fluorescing reefs filled with sharks, rays and plenty other benign creatures to explore, it mattered not that the 45 minute, high-speed, kidney-rattling boat ride left me seasick as I plunged into the invigorating brine.
Or that I was too busy clearing throw-up out of my snorkel gear to be vigilant enough to watch out for fire coral. In a display of true love & in a trail of puke, my husband kept watch & threw my legs out from under me when necessary to avoid a nasty burn.
NOTE: Nurse shark attacks on humans are rare but not unknown, typically resulting from a diver or fisherman disrupting or antagonizing the shark (um, like my husband riding it's dorsal fin pictured below). Their relatively small teeth seldom penetrate deeply but are razor sharp, & our tour guide had the scars to prove it. Leaving sharks alone is the best tactic.
Whether on the synchronized swim team in high school (talk about total water dork!) or pitting myself against the briny surf, I've always loved the way water wraps around the body in an embrace of total immersion.
Don’t you just love how…?
• Underwater silence lulls you into serenity & the world as you know it disappears to
become a foreign & mysterious place (possible even in a bathtub)
• Water provides a watery cocoon of total weightlessness
• Snorkeling & diving open a portal to another world teeming with alien aquatic
• Bone-white and flour-fine sand makes the ocean appear as clear as a glass of
• Perpetual rainbows refract light in the mist of waterfalls
• Riding the power of a ripping wave offers one of life’s great natural rushes
So, how did I end up a fish out of water in landlocked Colorado? Well, I’ve always wanted to live for a spell in the Wild West, so I’ve temporarily transformed my love for the waves into a love for the mountains.
Family reunion at one of my favorite places on earth--the Fingers Lakes Region of upstate New York
That's me readying myself to take the plunge.
Yet as beguilingly as the Rockies are, a stand-in love can only last so long. And though occasional trysts to the beach help get me through spells of ocean deprivation, someday I’ll live near the sea & make life a beach again. There’s only so long you can stand between a girl and her water.
H2O is good for the soul. It affects our physiology in real & measurable ways. They say it’s the negative ions. And since even a quick glimpse of the waves soaking the shoreline seems to rejuvenate me & a long, hot shower has been known to boost my mood, I believe them.
Water is magical in the way it offers us a chance to float free & come as close to flying as we’ll ever get. It can act as an aquatic meditation of sorts. Tuning out the world produces profound relaxation, quiets the chatty left hemisphere of the brain & decreases cortisol levels (the main component in stress).
So why not seek out more ways to make waves & regularly dip our toes in the rejuvenating liquid? Make a splash. Do cannon balls. Or do like these kids…
Photo Courtesy of Michelle Ballard
"Best buddies" These two have my vote to be cast in a Little Rascals sequel. Photo courtesy of swim coach extraordinaire Amber Sharkey
Cutey-petutey, goggle-wearing Ava & friends Photo courtesy of Amber Sharkey
Introducing my nephews: The Legionnaire & Lil' Boy Wonder
To make life go more swimmingly, just add water. H2Oh-yeah!
It’s your turn. Let us in on your favorite blue latitudes & experiences.
It's Happy in Here (TM) (Series) | How to Be Happy: 22 Tips to Everyday Bliss by Cindy O'Krepki
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