On our recent family vacation to the beach, I experienced the intense feelings of relaxation and release that I get every time I’m near the ocean. The waves, the salty air, the damp sand between my toes — I’m never as calm and centered as when I am near water. Perhaps it’s the pull of our ancestors — we come, ultimately, from the sea, and the human body remains anywhere between 85-50% water throughout our lifespans. According to different religions and cultures, water represents purity and fertility, an acknowledgement of our striving for truth and our urge to procreation. It symbolizes movement and transition, an understanding of the constant changes and growth that marks life. Water is used for blessing and sanctifying the beginnings and the ends of life. Water feeds our bodies and our souls. The next time you are near water, consider the ways it soothes, nurtures, moves and sustains you. As W.H. Auden wrote, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”