This I Believe

Courtney - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: environment
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After battling my way through another chaotic day in high school with only a few hours of sleep serving as my fuel I seek the most calming element in the world: water. I am a swimmer. Swim team practice offers an escape from the pandemonium as I hit the cool water and lose myself in the hypnotic twisting reflections of the lights. The pool water’s cool touch washes away my problems and turbulent thoughts, making the world seem clear cut.

To humanity, water has always been a calming element. People of the past have written of gentle rolling waves, glistening lakes, and babbling brooks, using each as a setting for peace and tranquility. Why has mankind always looked to water with such reverence? The answer: water holds a promise of life and security. The smell of the air after a rainstorm offers a sense of life and renewal. Without water, no life can exist, but with it life flourishes. When floating in water, the unrestricted movement below speaks of freedom – something everyone covets. By simply sitting near a waterfall, the absolute freedom that water holds seems to be within reach; for once destiny seems in my own safe hands.

Water brings tranquility to the weary. The sound of waves lapping gently at the shore conveys a steady, unyielding permanence. By nature humans seek consistency in life as a comfort that not everything is out of control. At night while I lay in my bed trying to sleep, I listen to a recording of a mountain stream. The soft rhythm and repetition beats away the uncertainties of the future such as not getting into a good college, not performing well on the next test, or not being fast enough in the next swim meet. The assurance that at least one thing in the world is constant keeps humanity alive and well in an environment where everything seems to change. Listening to the steady beat of water lulls the mind into comfort as sleep eventually brings relief.

Water cleanses. Whether a cut, a bruise, or damaged soul, water can cure any wound. Over the summer I took lifeguarding, a course that demands infinite patience while dealing with ninety-eight degree weather, immature peers, and no escape from droning lectures. A swim in the canal was my saving grace as the afternoon’s cool water soothed my blistered skin and frustrated mind. As I beat the surface, the water never retaliated – it was my sanctuary. No matter how hard I pummeled through it, the water would simply acquiesce, yet would always lend support, preventing me from falling into the dark depths. Water is a friend who, no matter how hard you beat it, always returns for another round ready to heal again. Water takes anger, filth, and tears without complaint. The infinite, unbridled source of life, the ultimate healing companion makes life bearable and soothes all without discrimination. I believe in the power of water.