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© Photograph by Jenee Mateer
Summer is where I most like to be, visiting my garden daily to take in the pungent smells of lavender, sage, tomato, basil, mint, oregano, dill, and dirt. I love the sound of cicadas and crickets accompanied by the drone of lawnmowers, and I never cease to be amazed by fireflies that glow yellow green in the dark. But what I most love about summer is that I get to spend time near water. Water has always helped me understand who I am.

After a visit to the lake or beach or when sitting at the pool, dappled sunlight plays through my closed eyelids. The sun is no longer hot, and a faint breeze rustles the trees, punctuated by the sounds of children's voices. I often think of the beach, hold the wide expanse of water, the dome of the sky, in my mind. I can then still feel the soft sand under my toes and hear the rush of water, the endless rush of water as it moves up and over the beach, creating patterns that slip back into the sand.

The water never stops. The rhythm never ceases. Slippery sand, endless flow, the gliding and eliding of millions of particles never at rest, evolving, revolving and, above, clouds moving across the sky as Earth turns and the light shifts, creating every blue and green and gray one can imagine. At times, the horizon is clearly defined while, at other times, it becomes fuzzy, indistinct; as a destination, it comes and goes.

I imagine that I am in a big bubble floating through space. It is hard to imagine the darkness beyond, except at night when the ocean's color, no longer generated by light from the sun, slips to gray and then black, is ominous, engulfing, as one might imagine the womb before birth. I experience anxiety. I'm anxious for the light to return. Behind me, houses glow, but before me is a void. We are so small, so insignificant.

Water reminds me of this, and this view comforts and frightens me. Fear comes from being unable to control water, and until I remember that I have no control, I continually fight the waves, trying to keep my feet on the ground. Better to relinquish control and move with the water, up and down, in and out, moved and held. Better to experience the power of that push and pull as part of the self. Best not to try and control it, better to recognize that I am part of it.


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