What is it about water that draws us in? Where do we get this tendency to go to the water’s edge for some of the most significant moments of our lives? We draw inspiration from hearing it, walking next to it, relishing the memories we create along its edge. And throughout human history, we see our deep connection to water in art, literature and poetry. Water is life-giving, its usefulness reaching far beyond just our physical need for it.
In his book, Blue Mind, Wallace J. Nichols reveals the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under or simply near water. Several years ago he coined the name for this human—water connection: Blue Mind, a mildly meditative state characterized by calmness, peacefulness, unity and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.
He writes that while neuroscience continues to produce evidence for it, it’s always the compelling personal stories that illustrate the crucial importance of our connection to water. From the classroom to the boardroom to the battlefield, sheer proximity to water diminishes anxiety, increases calm and improves overall performance and success. Water quenches our very soul in ways that are just now being understood by innovative scientists and cutting edge technology. As the concept of mindfulness goes mainstream, we learn that the effect of more good helps crowd out the stress produced in our overwhelmed lives.
The same can be said of our own personal experience at the great Blue Spring in Blountsville, Alabama. Nestled firmly in the foothills of the Southern Appalachian mountains, this geological wonder has a storied history of visitors taking rest and seeking replenishment at its water’s edge. It has been a gathering place for centuries, as it sits just 50 feet from the old Black Warrior Road, a well worn path trekked by Native Americans and Civil War soldiers alike. Upon first looking at the spring’s crystal blue waters, you realize that many a traveler has been offered solace and healing here, if only for just a moment.
We have learned that this water is a blessing, as we see the effects on all who come near it. Each day we soak in this abundance, with hands opened wide, knowing that we have been given access to a special gift. This water is meant to be shared. It belongs to us and to all who have come before us, to simply be near its edge.
Blue Spring is a special place. God’s gift. And we are grateful for its preservation and care from those who have loved it. Grateful to share the experiences of all those who have gathered at its edge. And grateful that something drew us deeply to her. It is up to us to be good stewards of this land and the water it holds for those who will come after us, so they too can experience its life-giving properties.