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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Water is life


On this trip we were lucky enough to participate in a water ceremony, and learned how sacred water is and how the Patcha Mama (Mother Earth) and all the Apus (mountain spirits) can be felt through immersion in water. While I have always felt this notion of inter connectedness, it wasn’t until I participated in the ceremony when I finally realized the power of water.

As you may have read in pervious yaks, I like to swim, but mostly in cold glacial lakes while everyone else is bundled up in all their layers. Why do I do this, well the answer is not quite so simple, it started when I was very young. During the summer, my mom would take my brothers and me to the lake everyday and we would spend all afternoon in the water. This started my love and connection of water and its because of how I feel swimming.

It’s refreshing. While that might seem obvious if the water is near freezing, it actually warms me up when I’m cold. That might not seem exactly logical, but as soon as I get in the water and then return to shore my whole body warms up, try it, it works.

Water provides safety. Whenever I am in the water I do not worry about anything, I am completely comfortable in my surroundings and I know that it’s going to hold me. It is like one big hug!

I can completely immerse myself in nature. As humans we are often separate from nature, but as I am swimming, I feel completely a part of the water and the earth. No matter where I am I always try to swim because it gives me a deeper connection to the place I am.

These are just a few of the reasons that I feel such a powerful connection to water and this trip has helped me realized why I love it so much.