Friday, August 19, 2016


It is dark when I arrive. The triathletes are waiting, ready to go. From the stairs down to the beach, the city is a silhouette in the first light of dawn.

The warm and humid air makes the water feel almost cool. The water is black and mysterious in the pale morning.  It has been years, literally, since I stepped into the lake to swim. Longer than that for when I did any 'real' swimming.

Throughout my childhood, summers were spent at the local pool. My brothers and I learned to swim before we could reach the bottom of the shallow end on tiptoes.

Being here feels natural to me, the slowed rhythm of my body through water, the silence underneath.  I feel the gentle current trying to instill its will on my intended direction. It's lovely, the power in the seeming stillness.

My rusty freestyle leaves me gasping for breath before the other girls are even warmed up. I watch their strong, silent motion between one pier and another. I rest, swim some more, rest, swim some more. How quickly my arms tire from the effort, how comforting the shore seems from out on the water. I swim toward sand, feet touching the bottom.

I'm spent from the exertion, but not quite ready to emerge from my watery cocoon. I want to stay here, let the world go about its dry-land business.  I wait as long as I can before reality beckons (stupid, insistent reality). 

Going back to the water feels like reclaiming something I lost years ago, and something I hope to find now that I know where to look.

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