The Sea’s Gifts


“The sea is the best place to sit and think of the future.” —Los Campesinos

Lake Balaton in Hungary

Lake Balaton in Hungary

I have always found solace when sitting beside a large expanse of water, whether a sea, a lake, or an ocean. In warmer months, I often bike to Orchard Beach and take a rest by dipping my toes into the water. Other times, I walk toward City Island but slip off the main road onto a hidden path that takes me to a small beach frequented only by fisherman, where the water isn’t nice enough to swim in but there are several large rocks to sit upon. I also love the rocks at Coney Island, which jut out into the salty water so that you feel a part of it.

In the winter, though, I don’t necessarily feel like trekking out to a large expanse of water every time I need comfort or a place to think. Instead, I visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and spend some time contemplating my favorite paintings, which have always been the ones that feature water in some way. On my most recent trip, I stared at the various depictions of the sea and thought about my my life, my job, what I want to do in the future, and what I don’t want to do in the future. By the time I left, I felt much better.

So, in case you’re looking for a similar sense of peace, I thought it might help to share with you some photos of my favorite paintings. Try to close out everything around you and focus on the way the artist used water in these paintings. Then, once you’re focused, think about whatever has been bothering you. Imagine you are out on the sea or reflected in the pool that reflects the poplar trees. What do you see out in the distance? What do you see staring back at you?

"The Grand Canal" by Joseph Mallard William Turner

“The Grand Canal” by Joseph Mallard William Turner

"The Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog)" by Claude Monet

“The Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog)” by Claude Monet

"The Four Trees" by Claude Monet

“The Four Trees” by Claude Monet

4 thoughts on “The Sea’s Gifts

  1. I love this idea. Museums can be such sanctuaries. I love that foggy Monet.
    I also find myself drawn to bodies of water, especially when I need to calm down. I’m lucky enough to work near a wharf, and the other day it finally occurred to me to take a break and walk down there just for a breath of fresh of air. Staring at the ocean and the distant bridge was grounding and inspiring. It just helped me appreciate my current location and remember where I am.

    • The foggy Parliament building is my absolute favorite Monet! That’s so great that you work right near a wharf. I used to work down in the Financial District, so I was right on the water, and I’ve been missing it so much in the past couple of months.

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