Have you taken the time to go wander down to any of the public piers that dot our lake and dangle your feet in the water? To quietly listen to the sounds of the lake? To notice the play of light on its surface? Or gone up to Korth Park and settled your eyes across the lake’s horizon? It’s deeply restorative.
Neuroscientists have shown that gazing on water flips the switches of our brain’s synapsis into calm and wellbeing. This calm is transmitted into our nervous system. It ripples into our hormonal system and reduces the various chemicals we release under stress. It relaxes and deepens our breath and eases the tension we carry in our muscles and tissues. Does it trigger some deep, primordial understanding that water is critical for our very survival? Science also shows that wide horizons generate a sense of safety and peace. That makes sense too. With a wide horizon, you can see someone or something approaching. You can find landmarks and have a sense of where you are in that moment. Combine the two? Well, just gaze across the lake for a while and what does your mind and body tell you?
Can this association just be deeply wired into our brains? Perhaps. Research has shown the colors associated with water, blues for example, help people sleep and relax. These findings are heavily used in the hospitality industry. In Japan, researchers found changing the red alert lights on a subway platform to a blue light reduced the number of suicides. Think about all your memories of a treasured vacation…How many of them included water? Walking on a shoreline, listening to waves, playing in the water, relaxing and hoping that this time would stretch forever?
We are blessed to have our blue wellspring so close and accessible to each of us. We just have to take the time to be in its presence and let it work its healing magic on our frazzled lives.
Last year, a survey of residents on and around Rock Lake showed that the two most favorite ways respondents enjoyed the lake was its scenic beauty and peace and tranquility. Join us. The poet Wendell Berry wrote, “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be… I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”