Thursday, June 18, 2015

TBT: Lake Swimming

from July 2008, slightly edited.


.... During the last bit of our vacation, Dean and the kids took off on a church youth trip while I stayed home. I spent several days at our favorite lake, relaxing and reading and watching the breeze move the leaves on the trees. It was great.

In the afternoons, it would get quite warm in the un-air conditioned cabin where I was staying. So after dinner the dog and I would walk down to the lake for a swim.

The reason this is my favorite lake is because the water is so clear and cold and deeply blue-green that you can see straight down to the bottom even at fifteen feet. It's not the kind of lake where you swim all afternoon.  No one stays in for long, it's way too cold, even in July. In fact, I don't get in at all unless it's really hot. But it was quite warm last week, and I swam every day.

I think it says a lot about one's personality how you do this-- do you plunge in off the end of the dock? start at the shore and wade in? run in and dive? My own approach is the wimpiest of them all, which is to slowly descend the ladder at the end of the dock, letting each body part get used to it before the next one gets wet.

But there is still a moment when you have to push away from the dock and plunge all the way in, and every time I do it, I cringe. I hate that bit. But then you're in, and the water is so .... bracing, refreshing, invigorating-- pick your term. It's so shockingly cold that you feel yourself come alive in response.

All the heat and dust and sweat dissolve away, and you just chill, in every sense of the word. I paddle around and try to find something, some place within myself that matches that deep, clear, blue-green stillness. It's worth the hated cringe moment, well worth it.

And then a minute and a half later, I pull myself out, shivering.

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