The Emotional Allure of the Sea

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”  ~  Sarah Kay

As holiday madness begins to wrap its crazed tentacles around us, even the most imperturbable beings may find themselves taking deep calming breaths.  Since our anniversary immediately followed the Thanksgiving holiday this year, hubby decided to surprise me with a three-day beach getaway to Encinitas.  How could I refuse?

Photo bombed by an errant shorebird.

Given that our bodies are about 60% water; the same percentage of salt in our blood is what exists in the ocean; about 70% of our planet’s surface is water; and water is essential to life, it is not surprising that most people are inexplicably drawn to the sea, even if they don’t swim or even enjoy sticking their toes in the water.  What is it about the sea that draws us in?

I recently read an article by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols on the theory of our “blue mind”, a “mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment”, elicited when we are in or near water. “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken,” Nichols explains.  When we humans think of water – see water, hear water, immerse ourselves in water, we feel something.

Undoubtedly, children feel joy…

And birds, well who knows…

Begging for a morsel, or a sandwich would be nice.
Expressing his displeasure walking away empty-billed.

I cannot deny nor begin to explain the serene turbulence I feel as I listen to the hypnotic sound of polished rocks being flung to the shore and drawn back out to sea by the powerful movement of the waves.  With each breath of salty sea air, my entire being courses with an electric current of emotion.  Gazing out across the water at the horizon, I imagine what lies beyond.  I am reminded of how small I am and how insignificant my worries.

Feeling perfectly balanced.

Our three-day getaway was just the rejuvenating respite needed.

This post was inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge “Serene”.

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