I find that many of the images that I make contain water–images of sea, of lakes, ponds, rivers, waterfalls, even reflections from puddles. Much of this is due to the fact that I live on the New England coast and often travel north and south, where I find lighthouses and boats to photograph, as well as amazing sunrises and sunsets and their reflections off the water.
Part of the attraction of water is the sense of freedom that comes from being out on the water at a distance from the shore and also the sense of openness that I get when I stand on the shore and look to the distant horizon–the vastness and potential of life and nature.
Water can be comforting. After all, we floated and were nourished for almost a year in our mother’s womb. But water can also be threatening. One of my favorite paintings is Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus calmly faces the roaring waters, while the disciples in the boat cringe in terror, fearing for their lives.
The sea and nature in general remind us that we are not in control. We did not control our coming into the world, and we do not control the forces of nature that can exert a profound influence on our life and on the world around us.
Like the disciples, in our faith we turn to Jesus, who is our ultimate source of security, the captain of our ship, the one who will lead us safely to our destination. From that place of security, we need not fear the storms that life inevitably brings.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. (Luke 8:24)