I’m sure I can speak on behalf of everyone, there is a soft spot in everyone’s heart for a place near water that they have been going to for years. As you read this you are probably envisioning this spot. A place of sanctuary and solitude where we go to relax and unwind. Whether it’s a crystal-clear pool full of rainwater that is hidden away in the dappled light amongst ferns or the shoreline of the ocean decorated with an abundance of shells and crashing waves.
For me, it is the middle channel of the sand river amongst a stand of enormous ebony and matumi trees where the river flows between the rocks creating a number of small pools and channels. A chance to look around where there is nothing but you in the depth of the riparian forest. In order to get there, one needs to skip across from one rock to another over the flowing water.
Why are we Drawn to Water?
There are many different reasons or theories why we are drawn to water in one way or another, whether it is being in water or near water. Submerging ourselves in the water allows our muscles to relax completely, no longer having to support our bodyweight against gravity. We can just float about and be free.
When we submerge our ears, we can clearly hear the movement within the water, everything is amplified as it flows around us. Once we are on top of the water, be it floating in a boat, we move about with every motion within the water, pushed around by the waves or currents feeling every beat and moving with it. While being around it, we can watch the movement, it feels alive.
Chasing water is part of our history. Charles Darwin crossed oceans to find new discoveries and Charles Boyd Varty trekked through the untouched, unchartered Sparta cattle ranch to find the Sand River, which has now transformed into the oasis that is Londolozi. Following the current of water has led us to new horizons.
A fascinating book, “Blue Mind”, written by marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, describes some research proving that humans go into a mildly meditative state when near, in, on, or under water. That spending time near the water is what we need to achieve an elevated state of happiness. I can wholeheartedly agree with this.
For me, the flow of water helps me fall into a deep sleep. When the Sand River is at its highest and flowing strongly, we can hear the loud rapids flowing from camp so I sleep with all my windows and doors open (with a gauze screen still closed, preventing any unwanted intruders) which helps me to dream of the memories I have of amazing times near water. The frog calls and hippo grunts are an extra bonus to listen to too.
When we sit with a herd of elephants and they’re splashing water from the Sand River over them, I wonder what else this river provides for? Where this elephant has travelled from to get to this river? Where will these drops of water from the Sand River take this elephant?
The Sand River not only quenches the thirst of elephants but it protects the skin of a hippo, it provides a home for a tiny reed frog, the current of the river flows under the reeds that bare safety for the weaver’s nests, it gives rise to the ancient trees that provide shade over its banks for animals to escape the heat, at night it is where the fireflies dance and crocodiles hunt, it is the friendship for life, the Sand River is life.
Where is your water?