I must have been about 14 years old and was on a class trip to Washington, DC. I fell in love with that city. From its rich history, to its awe inspiring power to the solemness and beauty that is Arlington Cemetery. We did a lot of the 'touristy' things; we visited the aforementioned Arlington Cemetery, President John F. Kennedy's grave and its accompanying eternal flame, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (now that almost deserves a post all its own, do you know what those soldiers go through in order to guard the tomb? Incredible), and various sections of the cemetery. We visited the Lincoln Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian and the Vietnam Veteran Monument.
The entire trip made me pause and realize how incredibly lucky I am to be an American. I mean, sure we have issues, struggles and battles, but wow, look at all that we do have. It is incredible to walk into the Smithsonian and see the actual flag Francis Scott Key looked upon as he penned "The Star Spangled Banner"...I mean the same, exact flag, my eyes are seeing the same thing his eyes did...am I the only one that finds that amazing?
One of the nights we were there we took a walking tour of the mall. It was just magical at night. Towards the end of the walk we sat down at the end of the reflecting pond, looking towards the Washington Monument and put our feet in the water. I was a giggly 14 year old, there with my best friends and we were just having an amazingly good time. Suddenly I turned towards the monument and noticed the beauty, darkness and stillness of the water. I remember it seemed as though everything went silent. I remember feeling an inner peace wash over me that I had never experienced. I was no longer stressed or worried about all those things that really get to a 14 year old girl. It was an incredibly amazing feeling. Thus began my love affair with water.
I now live near the ocean and my Mom has a poem in her house that I think sums it up quite nicely, it says:
Once a year like migrating salmon
all humans should force their way to the sea
and walk humbly into the water.
They should let the waves splash them
and let the sand suck from under their feet.
They should do this young or old, rich or poor,
hale or frail.
For it will more greatly improve the mind than any
treatment devised by any branch of medicine.