The island of Manhattan is surrounded by water. In the center of the city, in our beloved Central Park, is an 18-acre lake with rowboats, a reservoir we can walk (or run) around, with glorious city landscapes from every angle, and a small pond for sailing model sailboats.
Water sustains us. Perhaps it is why we are drawn to the flow and force of water in nature: Lakes, rivers, streams, bogs, even puddles. As children didn't we all love wading through the random circles of water that appear after a storm, knowing we were in danger of serious parental displeasure for soaking our new shoes through to our socks.
Water, even when it appears still and assumes the characteristic of a mirror in the earliest hours of the dawn, is always in motion and has a rhythm that becomes as meditative as a monk chanting quietly at the beginning of a sitting meditation.
From the short coastline on the Atlantic to the Connecticut Lakes in the northern most tip of the state New Hampshire has bodies of water that contribute to making it the special environment it is. My home in Laconia is just a just a short walk to a beach on Winnisquam Lake. I learned to swim at Forest Lake in the White Mountains, have attempted chilling swims in Echo Lake at the bottom of Cannon Mountain and spent many summers on the water, swimming, boating and even fishing staying with our Uncle Jim and Aunt Barbara's cottage on Merrymeeting Lake. Perhaps my favorite is Lonesome Lake, located on a high flat area just south of Cannon Mountain. Getting there is a hike up from Lafayette Place camping grounds on a trail maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Head down, climbing over rocks and around trees, there is something magical about suddenly looking up and seeing the lake, just ahead through the trees. And the relief of being with other hikers after being alone and encountering a large moose in the middle of the trail. Sitting along the shore of Lonesome Lake one is allowed to think, away from technology, the music of an ice-cream truck, sirens of all sorts and the screeching noise created by political campaigns.
A few hours sitting quietly by a lake, pond or river in New Hampshire is restorative for the soul.
Elizabeth Howard's career has intersected journalism, communications and marketing. Her articles have appeared in national and international publications. A Day with Bonefish Joe, her first children's book, has just been published by David R. Godine. She lives in New York City and has a home in Laconia, New Hampshire.
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