Marker Nine

Life Lessons from the Water

By Ford Silberhorn

Dad and Son on Boat

There is something truly special about water. The way that it works, both as a force and as a necessity in our lives cannot be mistaken.

From a physical standpoint, water can be immensely powerful. Enormous ocean swells can devastate shorelines and floods can ravage towns and cities.

Without water, mankind could not survive. Water is a necessity for us, but we feel contempt towards it? Of course not. We are completely fascinated and entertained by it, so, naturally, it has a huge impact on the way we live and grow up.

The point which I am trying to make is that water has the power to influence and change our lives more drastically and powerfully than any other natural occurrence or force and without growing up so close to it, I could not be who I am today.

There really are two lessons in particular that I can always come to in any situation or environment and these, of course, are to go with the flow and to just relax.

Even from an incredibly young age, life on the water had begun to teach me things, even if I wouldn't realize these lessons until much later. Buried under a slew of other photos in a box, there is a picture of me as a baby, comfortably nestled in my dad's boat. Not in the cabin or in a chair, of course, rather, in the fish box.

Baby in a Fish Box on Boat

Firstly, let me say that there was nothing unsafe or negligent about my sleeping box so you can stop dialing social services.

When the time came that I eventually saw this photo, I'm sure that I just laughed and thought it was funny how small the box was, however, it was only until later that I realized that I had already been taught a lesson, even as an infant.

Go with the flow.

Yeah sure, you're in a tiny fish box, but things could be worse. In fact, I was dead asleep in the photograph so I have a pretty good feeling it was comfy. Could I have screamed and cried for my mother? Probably, but instead baby-me was all good, wrapped tight in a blanket, fast asleep. So, even then, the water had let me let me know that it's much better to go with the flow than to worry about what comes next in life.

I only learned the last and arguably most important lesson recently.

This past summer leading into my junior year of high school, I was assigned a small mountain of summer work. As my summer days dwindled, it began time to start on these assignments. It also just so happened that my dad had been planning on a weekend boat/beach day on our favorite spot along the York River. And so there I sat on a beautiful sunny day, book in hand, furiously scribbling notes in the margins of Of Mice and Men instead of swimming, relaxing, or really doing anything fun. It was then that my lesson was clear.

Relax.

Reading on the Beach with Boat in Background

This may seem obvious, however, at the time, all I could think about was working. After maybe an hour of intense focus and reading, I finally understood that it is a million times better to simply relax and enjoy what's in front of you instead of sweating everything you have going on. Maybe it's cliche, but I don't care because it is something that I keep in mind everyday.

Growing up in Gloucester, Virginia, has undoubtedly had an immense effect on how I go about my life.

Baby Walking on a Boat

Living so close to this amazing body of water we know as the York River has taught me so many important things about myself, others, and life in general.

When the time comes that I leave Gloucester, for school or otherwise, the lessons will stick even if every single memory and event doesn't.

In ten, twenty, or even fifty years, when I look back on my adolescence here, it will be with total satisfaction in knowing that if I hadn't been here, then I couldn't be the same.

And that is why water is so special.

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