About ten minutes walk from where I work is the Teneriffe ferry terminal. And alongside it is a walkway that hugs the Brisbane River for about a kilometre (I’m guessing here) before disappearing into the tree-lined streets of Newstead.
I can’t tell you how many times that walkway has saved my sanity.
At work I can sometimes go from zero to homicidal in three and a half emails, and when that happens I walk out the door and head straight for the walkway. By the time I reach the end I’m a lot calmer (not to mention sweatier).
But it’s not the walk (or more accurately, stomp) that calms me down. It’s the sound of the water lapping the shoreline. Or even better, the sound of waves crashing against it as a CityCat cruises past. I don’t know why it works. It just does.
Sometimes I’ll play some ambient music on my headphones and lower the volume so they blend together. But most of the time I’ll just let the sound of the water work its magic.
A while ago we bought a CD that’s nothing but the sound of waves on a beach (well, that and the occasional bird). Ken Davis, the guy who recorded it, planned on using it as a background to his ambient music. But then he decided it was perfect as it was, and his music would only detract from it. And I’m glad he left it alone, because it’s now the sure-fire way for me to fall asleep. (Well, that and meetings, but I refuse to suffer one of them every night.)
Eventually, I’d love to have a place near the ocean. Not necessarily the place where we live (“we’re looking for a house that’s right on the beach but five minutes away from the CBD”), but a place where I can go to sit, to think, and to write.
In my perfect life we’d definitely be living on the beach (though I haven’t quite worked out how we’d afford it). I’d be writing in my office upstairs, lifting my head up between paragraphs to enjoy the view of the beach and the ocean beyond. And windows running the full length of the room would be open slightly to let in the cool sea breeze and the sound of the waves crashing over each other.
*Sigh.* One day.
In the meantime I’ll have to settle for the sound of waves coming from my CD player. Which, considering it’s almost midnight, sounds like a pretty good deal.