When Stephanie Hermann starts passing out gifts, it’s a good bet it’s going to be something to do with a Kayak or a book. Since I don’t kayak, it’s no surprise that the Union Parish Librarian gave me a book recently. I quickly thumbed through it and it had no pictures, so I wondered what she was thinking. I don’t read much, but the title of this book did catch my eye.
“Blue Mind” written by Wallace J. Nichols is the book’s name, and it’s about the surprising science that shows how being near, in on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do.
Heck, I already knew that. But this book is based on science, which is almost as good as what I already know.
“You’ll want to read this and share it on your blog,” Stephanie told me. She was right.
The inside of the book’s cover says, “There’s something about water that attracts and fascinates us. No wonder: it’s the most omnipresent substance on Earth and, along with air, the primary ingredient for supporting life as we know it. From far, far outside, our planet looks like a blue marble; from deep inside, we ourselves are three-quarters H2O. ”
One of my favorite quotes in the book is attributed to Kenneth Grahame from another book, “The Wind in the Willows”. It says, “Believe me my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in a boat”. I already knew that, too.
Nichols points out that our lives are often a series of encounters with bodies of water, starting before we are even born. As a student at Duke University, he studied the wild river of the Outer Banks along with economics, public policy and the like. But none of the literature or studies could actually capture the feeling of being around water. That’s kind of what the book is about — scientific studies that give actual results proving what we just already know. If you think Nichols just wrote the book because it was a good idea, think again. He’s all in. He even proposed to his wife underwater and slipped a sea-turtle shaped ring onto her finger (Note: He must not have been able to find a crappie shaped ring).
The book is published by Little, Brown & Company in New York. I think you’d enjoy it, too. Some of the touchy-feely ideas in it lean a little to the left on the environmental side, but if we all fessed up, we would probably agree with most of them. If you don’t want to fork over the $15-20 it cost to buy it, I’m sure Stephanie has plenty of copies available at the Union Parish library. And if you don’t live here, maybe your librarian is as smart as Stephanie, too, and he or she has the book on the shelf.