outerbanks As the weather warms up, it seems as if most of the DC area is beginning its weekend treks to the beach. Every Friday, on my way home, I-95 South is clogged with RVs, boat trailers and cars packed full of suitcases. The exodus has begun. Many people equate the beach with fun, laying out in the sun, the smell of suntan lotion, partying and more. For me, there’s something more elemental about it. Whether I’m going to the beach or to the lakes, something about the water draws me.

I’ve lived a rather land-locked life, but every summer I get this almost irrational urge to be near water to recharge my batteries. I enjoy playing on the beach, but the moments I truly need are the ones when I find myself practically alone. There’s something about the water that I find oddly soothing and invigorating all at the same time. Seeing a huge lake spreading out before my eyes makes me feel alive, and I’ve never felt so in awe of the world as when I have walked along the beach at midnight under a full moon watching light and water strech out into infinity. My family goes to Nags Head almost every summer and slipping away at night to go walking marks one of my highlights of vacation.

Even when I can’t get to the beach, I at least manage to drive out to a nearby lake. As soon as I see the glimmer of the water through the trees, I feel an immediate lift in my spirits. Somehow by the water, I feel more alive. I play around in the lake, but even more, I just enjoy sitting there, sometimes reading and sometimes just watching the water ripple. There’s something about being in the presence of a huge lake that makes me feel far removed from my usual life, almost as though I have stolen away to a place somehow removed from my own place and time. Somehow, being there makes me feel so much more vibrant and alive than I was before I arrived. It’s a recharging that carries me through weeks once I’m back in town.

As Labor Day approaches, the water season has almost reached its official end. I get to go to the lake for a cookout this weekend, but then I’ll be saying goodbye to water fun for a bit. I’ll be waiting for it when the days turn warm and lazy once more, though.

So, where do you go to recharge?

-Lynn Spencer