My daughter started to cry as the billowing waves crashed around her. As I ran and scooped her up, I discovered she had cut her foot on a piece of coral. As her wet cheek nestled into my neck, her salty tears ran down my arm and back into the ocean. I stood completely still, as the sandy earth moved beneath me, fish danced around my toes, and sunlight played with surf cast shadows. We were not just in the ocean, we were of the ocean:
- Human blood is 92% water.
- The brain and muscles are 75% water.
- Human bones are 22% water.
- Water is the major component of most of our body parts.
- Water covers more than 70% of our Earth’s surface.
- Humans can’t live without water.
Many of us have experienced the symbolism of water in religious ceremonies like baptisms or blessings. Water is symbolic for many civilizations in many ways. It is referred to as a source of reflection, renewal, fertility, purification, and transformation just to name a few.
As the waves rocked us back and forth, I understood water in a new way. I realized that I can’t catch a wave in my hand, but if I float on my back the ocean will support me. I pondered the ease in which water transforms from a solid to a liquid to a vapor. I thought of the sheer power water has to flood, wash away and also breath life into … I reflected on the fact that isolated water stagnates but water that flows purifies itself.
Mostly, I contemplated the simple complexities of water. It seems like a wisdom many Hawaiians embody. We see locals cradling newborn babies ducking the waves. We watch as people pull over and stop their commute for sunrise and sunset. We watch Hawaiians fish, spear, trap, and dine as the ocean provides sustenance. Locals tell us tales of the underworld that we get glimpses of through our snorkel masks. There is a rhythm and solitude that the wild shows only those who take the plunge. We watch locals play in the water with kite boards, surf boards, body boards, or no boards. The water is a source of joy and a playground for all ages. Those who are not in the water, are watching the water. We have witnessed a reverence and respect between Hawaiians and their ocean that can only come from a deep familiarity and knowing.
You didn’t come into the world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are a not a stranger here. – Alan Watts
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