This evening, I walked out of the tall gray building that is my job after completing a 12-hour workday. I had been cold inside, wrapped up in air conditioning and my sea-blue cotton-blend cardigan. I expected to feel colder and so braced myself for the Boston fall chill upon pressing against the glass exit doors.
I exhaled work out as I stepped onto the hard concrete. Then, as the doors slammed behind me, I inhaled deep, salty Boston coastal ocean air.
It is not every day that the salt reaches inland, curls upon the breeze and ruffles through my pedestrian nose. But, when it happens, I never fail to smile. My mouth stretches wide, and I quickly inhale again. I am greedy for salt air.
I feel a similar contentment and hunger when I walk into the locker room at my gym. There, I am hit with a wall of the chlorine – turquoise and sweaty. A beckoning from the pool I am about to swim in for the next 45 minutes.
When the rain arrives in the first April storms, or sits heavy in the humidity of a summer afternoon, I find the smell. It sits between hyacinth and pine needles. When I breathe in, it swells within me.
The winter brings crisp snow falling, tickling my skin and olfactory senses. The smell of snow is that of walking into an airy room filled with frozen starlight. Always, I smile.
There is something about water that reaches past my thoughts and feelings to my primal self. In the moments of salt, chlorine, rain, or snow, I am fed. I am made full.
When I was first beginning my trauma work, and I felt all alone in my grief and remembering, I used to take long showers. Still, being immersed in water is the most deep hug and nourishing meal that I can give myself.
I worry, at times, how it will feel to leave this place of salty air, of chlorinated pool, crisp starlight snow, and cold hard rain. How will I be cared for without the water I have known for a decade now?
I begin to worry, and then I realize that there is water everywhere. Whether in large or small doses, warm or cold, in created pools and lakes or wide oceans, there is water. And where there is water, I will thrive.