Thursday, January 22, 2009


Water. The act of swimming is very much like flying. I have always wished I could swim with my eyes closed to enjoy the movement without the distraction of the visual. (Someone once told me this meant I wasn’t getting a very good workout. Eyes closed in concentration not rest, Brad. Oh never mind.)

Still, the thrill of flying through liquid is dampened by the chill and the occasional nasal douche when attempting to perfect the flip turn at the end of the pool, not to mention sharing a lane. Flocks of birds, schools of fish, angle and turn, ebb and flow through the currents with nary a collision. Even with eyes open, I rake the thigh of the passing swimmer, and ingest the crest of his wave.

Very occasionally, I’ve found myself the only swimmer. No one to watch, no one to distract from their hard workout, neither laughing or learning. Lord help me, it feels like a workout.

Yesterday, I rounded the corner into the shower area hopping on one foot, head cocked to get the water out of my ear. A woman, perhaps 65, with photo gray glasses (still grayed), stood in her skirted swim suit at the other entrance wiping her hands on paper towels.

Water in my ears, I explained.

She countered with, So that’s the entrance?

To the pool?

I’m new, she says.

Yup, right this way, I gesture back from whence I came.

She made her way in baby steps across the wet tile in cheap water shoes (those flat bottoms which tend to trap a sheet of water under them, creating the ultimate frictionless flight onto your bum). She balled up the paper towels, opened the lid to the swim suit spinner, and tossed them in.

This is why I go swimming.


Daniel and Cerissa said...

I love it. Could imagine the entire scene in my minds eye :)

Craig and Bethany said...

I always kind of marvel that it is the sheer weight of the water that makes me buoyant. And how strange it is to complete these complex tasks of exercise. They seem so meaningless and excellent all at once, the texture of the water, the tightening precision. I suppose after all it is just another canvas for the interaction of one human and another. The canvas is just usually invisible.