Water is so beneficial to us. For me it’s an almost spiritual experience. As a person whose mind is always going, whose inside chatter never ceases, being in the water comes the closest to bringing me inner peace. And I’m not talking about swimming in a pool, whether indoors or out. I’m talking a lake, pond, stream, ocean.
Throughout my most challenging days thus far this year, I keep the vision of Big Bowman firmly planted in the back of my mind. When I don’t know how I will take another step, I channel the feeling I have when I’m in the water. Those thoughts, along with others, allow me to go forward.
When I was young, swimming was an integral part of my life. I swam for fun and I swam competitively. It was effortless. I swam until my fingers were prune-like and my lips were blue. I detested having to get out of the water. Whether I was swimming in (at) Lake Champlain, Big Bowman, the Burlington Tennis Club, the Victoria Pool, Thacher Park Pool, Elm Ave Park pool, Lake George, Trout Lake, Warner’s Lake, Maine, Cape Cod…the list goes on and on…I never wanted to stop.
Now swimming is an important therapeutic part of my life. It provides both physical and spiritual assistance. I’m looking forward to testing my surgically repaired shoulder this summer. For the last several years it has been difficult to swim any stroke but breaststroke. And even that caused pain. I have my snorkel, mask and fins ready to do some slow freestyle. By the end of the summer my stomach is tighter and flatter, my legs are toned and I just feel better. Even if I just spend time in the water noodling with the wacky noodle float, there are physical benefits. Sometimes I stay in the water so long I have to take a nap before driving home because I’m exhausted. But it’s a wonderful fatigue!
As for the spiritual…what could be better than lying back in the water’s supportive embrace, gazing at blue sky, fluffy clouds and circling hawks? Hard to answer that one. For me it doesn’t get much better. I look forward to creating new memories at Salmon Lake this summer with Jim, his family, and circle of friends. As my body marches through these last few weeks of school (in non-air conditioned comfort), my thoughts of the water will be close at hand.