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Marveling at the restorative, relaxing aspects of water

A view of summer's beauty, Scrubgrass Creek waterfall at Scrubgrass Village OHV Park near Templeton, submitted by Frank Garmong.

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By Michael O'Hare
Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

I have not gotten my necessary dose of water this summer.

What, you say, haven't we had more than enough rain?

That is not the water I am missing, even though all water is indeed the same stuff. Even when it comes down as snow (ugh, let's not go there).

I have walked the banks of the Allegheny River and that has been somewhat restorative. But I am afraid I need more.

Last Sunday we did one of our favorite things to do. We drove to Moraine State Park, parked ourselves on two tent chairs overlooking the lake and alternately watched the water and the people on or near it and read our books.

That was restorative.

Water has that power. We come out of water. We require water to live. Water covers most of the planet.

I did not see the ocean this year, indeed have not done so in a few years. I applaud those of you who did. It is refreshing just to sit on a beach and watch that steady beat of water onto the shore's edge.

I hope to get to Lake Erie this year — same effect.

I have had occasion in my life to see the ocean, raging hard against the stone cliffs of a high shore, and even that can have its calming effect as we accept nature's might.

I join when I can the many who flock to Niagara Falls; it has always amazed me that with all the amusements people have constructed around the falls it is that steady pouring of water over the American and Horseshoe falls that captures our most serious attention. It is mesmerizing.

But water need not move in bodies as large as an ocean or a lake. Certainly Buttermilk Falls does it for many of us around there.

We accompany this column with a photo submitted by Frank Garmong of Kittanning of the Scrubgrass Creek waterfall which he called “Summer Beauty at Scrubgrass Village OHV Park” in the Templeton area.

Beautiful, to be sure. And again, it speaks to the serenity and restorative power of water.

I call this column Meandering because of the analogy of water to life. As streams approach their final destination of an ocean, they often meander over a wide swath of low land, moving slower, taking time to explore.

If you are so inclined and able, you might look for quotes on water on the Internet. One I particular liked was by the poet E.E. Cummings who wrote: ““For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),/ It's always our self we find in the sea.”

That kind of ties into that meandering aspect of life.

And lastly back to that rain thing and the idea of the cycle of water, evaporating and returning from the sky.

On one morning when Mary Ellen and I chanced to be in Dublin, Ireland, some years ago, we were walking on our way to visit the Grand Canal (water, of course) and carried umbrellas in a light rain that fell despite a bright sunlight.

A similar thing happened Wednesday morning of this week. As I (and perhaps you?) was driving to work a misty rain fell and was lighted by a bright sun, particularly on the leaves of trees and the greens along the road side where it appeared as sparkling diamonds.

It was brilliant in every sense of the word. Only nature could provide such a scene. A nature that can paint with water.

The weekend weather is expected to be good. To enhance it, just add water — a view of it at least.

Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to

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