Why are people drawn to water?

By Emily Reddington
Otters at play just after sunrise on Edgartown Great Pond. December 11, 2020

Sunrise over the Pond in December is a dynamic watercolor painting with ever-increasing light.  Since adopting a puppy this fall, I have seen my fair share of sunrises.  One morning three otters gathered near the pond shore, the first carried a fish in its mouth and the other two played follow the leader.  Another dawn the Pond was like glass and seemed to be a bird’s paradise, with every species you could imagine basking in the early morning glow.

On these quiet mornings, when my feet have drawn me to the Pond, I find myself trying to answer a deceptively simple question my husband asked: Why are people drawn to water?

Water is the source of life, whether we are contemplating of the origins of life on earth, a mother’s womb, or a place to find sustenance.  Human bodies are on average 60% water and throughout history, civilizations have been built around reliable sources of clean water in order to sustain our aqueous composition.

All of those lucky enough call Martha’s Vineyard home, have built their lives around the natural rhythms of water.  On warm summer days we are swimming, sailing, fishing, or floating.  When fall comes, we enjoy the glory of still-warm waters and celebrate the harvest of bay scallops and the comradery of the derby.  Come winter, we know the ferries may shutdown not because of snow, but due to nor’easters that make Vineyard Haven harbor inhospitable.  Spring marks the return of herring, shorebirds, and osprey, but gusty winds the cold ocean chill the Island, delay warmth until it is almost time for summer. 

Since the start of the pandemic people have retreated to the natural world.  The Island, and its waters, have been our shared refuge.

During this very challenging year, each time that I needed to reset my mood and reconnect with nature, I found myself drawn to Edgartown Great Pond and its living watersI am drawn to water because it never ceases to improve my spirits.  It calms me when I am unsettled and it recharges me when I am tired.  I spend my time studying and protecting water, because to me, it is sacred. 

Maybe people are drawn to water because they feel the rhythm of the sea and the potency of natural cycles that disregard political chaos and personal conflict. Edgartown Great Pond is a place where land meets the sea and the rich waters of the Pond are exchanged with the clarifying waters of the ocean. The Pond is many things to many people and we are so very lucky to share this special place on earth.

If the Pond has helped to sustain you in 2020, please consider helping Great Pond Foundation to sustain the Pond.