As an adult, I'm not so much about being in the water as I am being near the water. For some reason, just being close to a body of water, calms me and lifts my spirit. When I lived in Pittsburgh, Erie was my go to place when I needed a water fix. I could walk the beach for hours, sit at a picnic table overlooking the lake and journal, or just sit and listen to the waves hitting the shore. Lake Erie was the place I went after I saw the Blessed Mother and she told me I needed to leave Holy Family because she had work for me to do. The day after I drove to the lake, I turned in my resignation.
Somehow, whatever I got from being there was enough to confirm that I needed to take that step. I knew when I decided to move to Nashville that I was going to miss my trips to the lake.
When I came to Nashville in January, 2012, for Hayden's birth, I had some time on my hands when I wasn't with my family, and decided to explore one of the New Age shops in the area,. When I got there, I decided to get a reading done. One of the things the reader said to me as she read the tarot cards I had chosen, was that when I moved to Nashville, I needed to live near water. She said it was important for my spirit. After she said that, I told her about my trips to Erie. She smiled knowingly and nodded her head as I spoke.
When I began looking for a place to live in Nashville, I never gave a second thought to what that reader had said. I wanted a place relatively close to my son's home, with no stairs, and something that I could afford. When I looked at the condo that is now my home, and the realtor said it was on a lake, I never thought much about it, because I couldn't see the lake from my condo. There is an Army Corp of Engineers' easement between the lake and the back of my condo, which is all woods, and unless you know there's a lake back there, you'd never know there's a lake there at all. So I just never think about it.
But this morning, instead of taking my usual walk through the condo plan, I decided to head out of the plan and walk down a road just a short distance away that is blocked off with a gate.
Before the leaves started falling, I couldn't see anything past the stop sign but more of the road. With the leaves falling and branches baring, I could now see a glimpse of the lake. I decided to explore.
As I walked up to the gate, I was able to read the sign that was posted to its side. It said this boat ramp was closed and listed several others that boaters could use instead. "A boat ramp?" I thought. "How close is the lake?"
The road past the gate.
The further I walked, the more excited I became! The lake was so close...barely five minutes from my front door! I've lived here over three months now. How could I not have known it was this close?
But isn't that what happens sometimes? We get so caught up in what is right in front of us that we don't bother to look any further, to dig any deeper. We let the obvious stop our exploration, or we convince ourselves that it's a waste of time and effort. I wonder how many other opportunities I've missed because I stopped at the obvious?
I did my spiritual practice this morning sitting on a rock at the edge of the water, eyes closed, the breeze rustling the dry leaves on the tree branches above my head while the water slapped the shore at my feet. I turned my face upward and felt the sun warming my cheeks, and even though my eyes were closed, I could see the sun's light through my lids. I breathed in the chill fall air, aware of the smells of the water, the pine trees behind me, and the wet earth under my feet, and then I pulled back my shoulders, expanded my chest, and breathed in even deeper. "Thank you, God." I whispered. "Thank you."
I don't have to drive ninety miles to Erie anymore. I don't have to wait until I have the time to make the trip. It doesn't have to be something I can only do when I have a full day free of other obligations and responsibilities. Now, anytime I want to, I can take a five minute walk out my front door, and regain my calm and renew my spirit by being near the water. What an amazing gift! And to think I might never have known it, if I hadn't looked beyond the obvious!