As the world spins off the rails in a variety of unsettling directions, the need for comfort and tranquility has never been greater. Is this where the power of nature and aquatic environments comes the most into play? Has there never been a better time to seek refuse at the water’s edge? Eric Herman thinks so.
By Eric Herman
One needn’t be a social scientist to see that people are weary and under pressure. The stressor points have been mounting, on an almost existential level. It’s quite a list of worries that include the pandemic, inflation, rising housing and gas prices, climate change, increasingly severe natural disasters, drought, food shortages, drinking-water contamination, deepening cultural and political division, and most recently, war.
While there is certainly vast room for disagreement within the specifics of those issues, there can be no question that combinations of these mega-maladies are ratcheting up anxiety levels for people in all walks of life.
If there’s one sure-fire remedy, or at least an effective mitigating factor, it is time spent observing and interacting with nature – especially water. As scientist and author Wallace J Nichols has been advocating for years now, embracing the science of “Blue Mind” offers virtually all people a means to feel better, despite the current circumstances. It’s a timeless message worth embracing for a variety of good reasons.
I knew this intuitively years before reading Nichols’ seminal book, “Blue Mind”. Experience in nature taught me long ago that it is the greatest asset we have in the war against anxiety and depression, and I’ve written about it on social media, blogs, magazine articles and in poetry, always in the hope that others might experience nature’s nourishing impact as I have.
Back in 2015, while living on the shores of the Monterey Bay in the exquisite coastal hamlet of Capitola, Calif., I wrote the poem you see below. It was my way of expressing Blue Mind, even though I didn’t exactly realize it at the time. Because April is National Poetry Month, and in light of the stress-inducing challenges we currently face, I thought it might not hurt to take a brief trip to a place by the shore.
The Infinite Spectrum
We walk to the bluff and gaze across the bay
Alive in the breath of the moment
Becoming as one with possibility
There we seek the Infinite Spectrum
Blues and greens in constant motion
Skies swirling through time
Peripatetic winds surfed
By tireless feathered wings
We lift our eyes to the inerrable light
Seeing the Infinite Spectrum
Grace beyond ancient knowing
Sun’s burning bell curve unfolding
Matter’s expansion proceeding
Immeasurable by earthen shadows cast
Directing our minds into the silence
Perceiving the Infinite Spectrum
Fed by the nourishing broth of nature’s intent
Eternal contours of the moment
Creative rivers of love’s potential
Singing the sensitive chaos
Light, air, land, life and water
Open our hearts to the wilderness
Awakening to the Infinite Spectrum
Chromatic tincture tirelessly combining
Life’s rhythm never ending
Energy cooled into every substance
Celebrates the quantum irony
Uplifting our single spirit to rebirth
To become the Infinite Spectrum
Now, together, we breathe
Inhaling hope and exhaling love
Our breath whispers the wisdom of Earth’s deepest lake
Imbibing the translucent turquoise cider
Iambic passages of fulfillment
Forever conquer suffering
We are that we are
Within the Infinite Spectrum