Spring of Life

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Of all the crazy childhood memories I have I often recall our weekend trips to my grandparent’s. My entire family, including our 30 kg, hairy, collie dog, Randy, squeezed like sardines into my dad’s light blue Beatle car, and off we would go for another madcap jaunt to my parent’s home village.

My grandparents lived in the small picturesque village of Kornofolia, just half an hour drive from we lived. My brother and I watched in excitement whenever mom would start packing for our short trip to Kornofolia. Our impending explorations into the lush vagrant fields and jungles kept us on tenterhooks. Even though we needed very little my mom would overload the car responding to my dad’s nagging: you never know…we might need it. Let’s take it just in case. So we always ended up with two huge suitcases, loaded with useless things… just in case!
And to make it worse, at the back seat of the car, crushed somewhere in between me, my brother and hairy Randy, my mom would position two big , yellow empty containers which would be filled with water.

spring of life2Let me explain. About halfway to Kornofolia village lay a bigger village; Lefkimi and it had a natural water spring, which came directly from the mountain forests of Lefkimi? I have already written about the beauty and unique fauna and flora of this forest in a previous post.

But let’s return to our story and our squeezed condition during our journey to Kornofolia. A stop at Lefkimi’s natural water spring was a must for my mom, never mind my dad’s moaning. The procedure was always the same. The spring was placed in Lefkimi’s central piazza where people could easily reach to fill their bottles or just enjoy the rejuvenating feeling of the cool gurgling water. My dad would park next to the spring and exit the Beatle as if his very life depended upon it and we would follow one after the other. Randy offloaded first, then my brother, then the first one of the yellow containers, the second one and finally I, searching desperately for some space to stretch my already sandwiched legs.
In those days I could never understand why it was so important for my mom to go to all this trouble, carrying two heavy containers filled with spring water to my grandparent’s home, since their house already had all the necessary comforts. Their tap water was not only fine to drink from but also had great fresh taste, even better than our own home. And their tap would never run out of water; so what was the reason? I didn’t understand.

It is only after I grew up did I realize mom’s wisdom, which she was trying to pass on to us that would lead to a healthier lifestyle. Now I know and I feel immensely grateful for the knowledge I gained and in retrospect I would tolerate much more ‘sandwich’ time with my brother, Randy and the yellow containers for good living; if that was the only way for gaining it!

I realized how a simple and healthy lifestyle is important for our physical and spiritual health. My mom was trying in the simplest manner possible to eliminate all the unsuitable additives contained in tap water, like fluorine, chlorine, aluminum, copper and lead.

spring of life3In many cities it is perfectly normal to fill a glass with tap water and gulp it down our throat. For us in Greece this is our every day routine and we are actually very proud of the quality of our tap water. But have we ever thought of what’s in tap water? We can’t see with naked eyes but tap water often contains a range of contaminants from a number of sources. I have already mentioned some of them above. Depending on the quantity present they have an adverse effect to the smell, look and taste of the drinking water and in higher presence they can potentially have more harmful effects on our health and on our appliances.
Whereas natural spring water, emerging from the high mountain sources or from melting glaciers, contains none from the ones mentioned above. The only thing such water contain are rejuvenating elements that is highly beneficial to our health. In a holistic approach, natural spring water provides food for our spirit and nutritious ingredients for a healthy body.

It is said that people leaving in remote places on high mountains, like shepherds, are so strong, mentally and bodily that they have magical powers. This happens due to their long term interaction with nature, the spring water they drink, the fresh air and the milk and cheese they produce from their goats. They nourish themselves with what nature offers in its simplest form. The simpler they live stronger they become.

My grandfather was a shepherd. I remember how strong he was. When I was a young girl he looked like a giant to me. He had a pair of huge, rough hands, with which, I believed, he could break even a rock into tiny pieces. I remember his words so clearly. His secret motto for longevity was: always drink natural spring water, breath fresh air (he meant to spend as much time as possible in outdoors), eat simply and light and always smile.
Ever since I am trying my best to stick to my grandpa’s advice, so I smile as often as I can, eat simply, light, and spend as much time in outdoors as possible and finally try to drink as much of pure natural spring water as I can manage to find.

But how often can I find pure natural spring water in the middle of a city? So, I am trying to find the best alternatives whenever I am unable to find a clean spring close to where I live. At home I use Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filter for the tap. A more economic solution is the usage of Brita filter, which at least takes out lime-scale. I also add some fresh lemon juice or natural salt into the water to “charge” it.
My mother always advised ‘Kiki, let the water breathe.’ I only understood the meaning when I grew older. For example, after filtering the water through a Brita filter, I put it in a glass container and I don’t cover the top of it, so it can “breathe”. As the water reacts with the air, it releases toxic chloride and takes oxygen from the air (you can see the bubbles collecting in the water). Breathing requires at least 30 minutes.
Of course the last solution is to buy spring water in a glass bottle from a shop, but it’s not ideal as we can’t actually know the exact background of the company and how long the water has been sitting in the bottle.
For those who live in clean nature, free of pollution, you can collect rain water or even melt ice or snow. And remember that fresh organic fruits (like coconut water) also contain lots of live water.

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So every time I go outdoors I always seek for the “hidden” springs to fill my bottle. I get so excited when I hear the mesmerizing sound of the gushing water that I can climb or get into the jungle no matter how high or difficult to reach it may be. Sometimes I even end up being totally wet by falling into the river or scratched by thorns but the satisfaction is so big that there’s no regret.
The benefits of spring water for mind and body are so important to me that I could do anything to find it.

Grandpa…I wonder how long would I live following your advice!