A crosscurrent is defined as a current in a river or sea flowing across another current. But it is also defined as a process or tendency that is in conflict with another. We all have responsibilities, a million ideas and good intentions. It’s normal to feel like there’s a riptide, an undertow or a tugging when we are trying to stay buoyant in the best of times. There is perseverance and perspective gained if we are willing to be strong, patient and mindful.

My perfect morning routine starts with coffee, reading and some note taking for inspiration, followed by a walk or yoga to connect body and mind. The days without this routine seem disorganized, less interesting, aimless and sometimes wasteful. It’s hard to focus on life around you when you haven’t made an effort to focus on what is right in front of you.

We had a lot of plans this summer. Trips to Newport to watch sailing, Cape Cod for a family reunion, maybe a special fishing trip out west with the grandparents, beach trips, river rafting, swim team, relaxing and connecting pool side with our neighbors.

I see a theme here. Water — it consistently shows up in my life (past, present and definitely in my future). I recently read a book called BLUE MIND by Wallace J. Nichols. Perhaps the nudge for this blog post. “What is it about the way water reflects, glimmers and glows that mesmerizes and transfixes us?”

Have you ever noticed how you feel when you are near water?? What kind of body of water speaks to you? Rain provides nourishment for all the flora and fauna on our planet. Oceans have their majesty, power and mystery. Rivers move, flow and carve their own way. Lakes, bays, lagoons all evoke feelings of romance, adventure, renewal and transformation.

Water in one moment is active and the next passive. It reminds us to take time to be in nature. Marvel at the beauty of raindrops and puddles. Seek creeks, “cricks”, waterfalls, inlets, overlooks, bridges, scenic drives, a sunrise or sunset…. Water quiets the mind, dissolves the outer noise and distractions, connecting you with your thoughts.

It’s no surprise that my favorite art medium involves a fresh cup of water. The amount of water I use determines the flow of a brush across the page. The depth and value of a color has it’s own temperament depending on the amount of water used to saturate or dilute an area. Really good high quality papers are made with natural fibers and water. Thankfully my faithful sharpie pens are resistant to water - providing the perfect backdrop for the surprise and delight of my acrylic and watercolor palettes.

My favorite color is blue. The color blue is associated with trust and confidence. Blue is the most popular color in marketing & brand usage yet blue is the rarest color in nature. Blue is the color of the sky and the sea, but those properties come about because of “the physics of light”. 70% of the earths surface is covered by water so that partially explains why our earth appears to be blue (the radiance of our blue atmosphere reflected). Science has determined the color blue is beneficial to the mind and body - producing calming or energizing effects. My family knows my spirit is happy when I can say “it’s a Colorado blue sky day”. But talking about Colorado or the mountains is a blog post for another day. Sometimes the color blue just takes your breath away — think about glaciers & icebergs, or stars set against an indigo night sky. Since 1903, Crayola crayons have expanded their blue color palette to at least 19 different variations of blue. All of these variations inspire their own unique story. Notice a lot of them would not exist if water wasn’t associated them. I think I need to do a series of blue paintings some time soon!

  1. blue

  2. blue green

  3. blue violet

  4. cornflower

  5. Prussian blue (later renamed "midnight blue")

  6. cadet blue

  7. aquamarine

  8. navy blue

  9. sky blue

  10. ultra blue

  11. blizzard blue

  12. cerulean

  13. teal blue

  14. Pacific blue

  15. robin's egg blue

  16. denim

  17. blue bell

  18. outer space

  19. wild blue yonder

I usually fill my spirit tank with outings, activities with family or time in, on or near the water during the summer. I haven’t had enough of those experiences in 2020! I appreciate the girlfriends who suggested swimming laps (so we could chat) during our assigned swim session time slot this summer. I’m thankful for the families that offered their pool or a trip to the ocean for my “beach & water loving” daughter. I’m hopeful for the possibility that my oldest son who loves sailing will have a chance to dance with the wind and salt air this fall. I’m grateful that my college freshman has learned this summer to watch for water hazards on the golf course (aren’t those a metaphor for life!). My husband was eager for a chance to find a waterfall this summer in our beautiful Shenandoah mountains. It wasn’t a simple path/trail/hike. It took a large block of time to get there, it was a several miles (down & back) on foot but what we gained along the way was the quiet rhythm and shade of the path, the desire to seek out the water source and the rewarding cascade of water at a rocky ledge. Frankly the sounds of falling water, babbling streams, and moss covered wood & rock along the way was its own kind of therapy.

The tides will continue to crash and retreat, rivers won’t stop gushing from high to low and our creative souls will to have to be patient with the ebb and flow of life. Our seasons are always changing, we can feel a shift in many directions. Nature guides us, calendars remind us. The crosscurrents of your life will create some unexpected plans, stories and hopefully moments of gratitude if you are willing to let the voyage take you into new territory.

I’m off to watch the morning light paint across the river. Along the way I’ll notice the dew on the river reeds & grasses, the sparkle of sunlight across the waters surface and the magic that restores my spirit.

Remain Optimistic. Always!

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