This morning I woke up, a bit lethargic, but still happy to greet the day. Slow moving, but willing, I exchanged pajamas for a swimsuit, shorts, and t-shirt and grabbed keys, wallet, a towel, sunglasses, and the little plastic box that holds my swim cap and goggles. I headed to the pool where I have made a second home this summer. In the locker room, I rinsed off, shivering in the cold shower. I flip-flopped out to the pool and tossed my belongings into a lawn chair poolside. Down to my swimsuit, I sat on the edge of the concrete, legs swirling aimlessly in the water, while I tucked my short brown hair into the blue swim cap and snapped on my goggles. Then I slipped into the vivid aqua and began the quiet and contemplative 1200 yards. There is something meditative and monotonous about swimming. I had a whole lane to myself, so I did not even have to calculate my swim speed or be concerned with switching sides of a lane. I just swam. I just was. I was swimming into life, the water cloaking me.
A little over two months ago, 25 yards felt difficult, and now I can swim 48 times that distance comfortably, confident enough in my strokes and ability to get there. To swim is to glide through water. It feels weightless and freeing. Once I get in the water, it is just me. Sometimes I count, sometimes I pray. Mostly, though, I concentrate on moving. The goggles, the water, the swim cap, even my tank suit, envelop me into another world, a different existence.
When I started this blog, almost four years ago, I was eager to reclaim part of my self. I was eager to do and to be. I was eager to run and learn, instead of sit and atrophy. Time flies and a few things have changed. I am writing more. I am running more. I am living more. I am doing more. I am swimming. Some lessons, though, still elude me. I also know that the things I do and know, do not end. It is a constant process: living and learning and doing. That process is much like swimming.
I move from the crawl to the backstroke to the breaststroke. I swim 400 yards of each in a 25 yard lane. Back and forth. Back and forth. This indoor swimming pool, where I have made my summer home, always seems to be the perfect-just-right-Goldilocks temperature. The pool manager has the chemical balance figured out, because there is no piercing or burning scent of chlorine in the air. Sometimes there are other lap swimmers, sometimes there are pool walkers. In the evenings, there is an exercise class that meets in the rounded shallow recreation end of the pool. I stick to the straight lane end. I move from wall to wall, sometimes pausing for breath. Sometimes I stop to adjust my goggles or to check the time on the wall, but mostly I just touch the wall, turn around, and begin again.
Today, I prayed and thought about life in the present. I felt the joy and bliss of doing work. I saw myself writing. I saw myself running. I saw myself perhaps finally over a crush that has threatened to crush me lately. I saw myself meditating. I saw myself learning. I saw myself letting go. I saw myself with more patience. I saw myself fully living. I saw myself free.
I saw myself swimming, deep in bliss. I saw myself swimming back and forth. I saw myself right where I am. Swimming. . .into life. Swimming into being.