January 18, 2007

A few words on water

There's something incredibly alive about a community pool; whether it is the toddlers peeing in the shallow end or the bacteria growing between lap-swimmer Sam's toes, I'm not sure. There are people everywhere doing all kinds of activity. The bobbing of buoyant women doing aquaerobics beside me is rather funny and the 10-year olds learning butterfly make sucking noises in my underwater world that awaken a need to save lives.

I've rediscovered my love for swimming in the past month and I did it at my local pool. The pool isn't of Hollywood, or even suburbia, quality, but it's filled with water--and lots of people. The lanes are regulation-length, unlike Seton Hill's, so when I say I do a 500, I do 500 yards, not 350. I come for the lap swims, but there are sometimes two or even three classes going on at the same time. I am lucky to have a lane. I swim.

However, I catch myself concentrating on the people more than anything, even my workout. The parents on the stands, watching their little ones get fished out of the deep end, the lifeguards, in an edgy state of comotose, the aquaerobics women, talking above Little Richard's wails to "Good Golly Miss Molly."

It's all so alive, especially when you're under the quiet pull of the water, feel the sting in your stomach and suddenly a wall of sound as oxygen pours into your lungs. Alive, living. My ears hear it, and I can sense the flailing and crying, but inevitably return to my artificial blue again until my breath gives out.

Swimming is therapy for me. I push myself, but I know I'll never make an impression. The water will go back to what it once was and all the ripples I made will not matter. I will be changed because of its impression on me.

When I get down, I think about rivers and lakes I've visited and waterfalls I've seen. I think about how they flow long after I leave. I remember how I swam their depths and touched the bottom with my wrinkled fingers. I think about the way I was carried by their flow and not my strokes, though I thought it was me. I remember their life, quite apart from my presence. Those thoughts are with me now, as I wait, and float.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at January 18, 2007 2:45 PM | TrackBack

My kids swim on Saturdays at Latrobe's high school, as part of the Latrobe parks & rec program. Carolyn is still too small to go in by herself, so I go in with her. It's rarely relaxing, since my parental instincts are fine-tuned to worry about drowning. But it is fun.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 18, 2007 4:12 PM

At the pool where I swim, the parents are forced to sit on the bleachers while their kids are instructed. Some parents chat and others are edgy every time their kid's hair gets wet. I can understand both types of parents sentiments.

Posted by: Amanda at January 19, 2007 10:12 PM
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