16 August 2013

water features

it must be my fiery personality that makes water so compelling to me. i am drawn to it. i am happiest when i am close to it. any kind of water. a pool, a pond, an ocean or a bay. it doesn't matter. i adore it. my heart leaps whenever i am near it. it's akin to falling in love. would it be an exaggeration to say that i am indeed in love with this chemical compound? someone once wrote that laughter is the best medicine. i think it's water. 

water has served me well my whole life. aside from nourishing and refreshing, it has been a source of profound teaching. let me explain.

yesterday, as i swam laps, the 10 year old and 7 year enjoyed their education that's physical. i droned. stroke.stroke. breath. o, i do love swimming even though it is lonely. as i swam beside my splashing lads, i thought. lesson: water is a sanctuary. 

water has played an instrumental role in my life from early on. i learned to swim at the hands of my father and older sister when i was around 6. my father put a pool in our backyard, a simple task for a building contractor. our home instantly became the place to be as my siblings entertained like gangbusters. from sun up to sun down, i swam in the company of a large crowd of friends mine and my siblings. water was my recreation and being out of doors all day is what's responsible for the freckles on my 42 year old face. lesson: water cultivates community.

years later, i stumbled into an advanced swim class/life saving class at the y.m.c.a. i read about it in the newspaper and thought it sounded-engaging. little did my 12 year old self know that this class was set aside for those training to be lifeguards. not wanting to back down from a challenge{and being too embarrassed to walk out}, i hung on even through the most awkward moments of being "rescued" by older guys who were hoping to earn their lifeguard's whistle for the upcoming summer. i will never forget jumping into the pool fully clothed wearing my oxford cloth shirt and jordache jeans over my swimsuit. have you ever tried to take wet jeans off whilst treading water? were you 12? and if that wasn't enough, i had to fashion those stiff jeans into a floatation device-whilst treading said water. then i had to rescue a full grown man{i was 12 and if my size wasn't enough of an obstacle, the horror of my burgeoning adolescence was!}. lesson: water brings challenge{and vulnerability}.

it would take me until my sophomore year in college to have the courage{or stupidity}to try out for my college swim team. i had just broken up with a boy who had been in my life for a long time. i needed an escape, a quiet place to practice hearing myself. and this proved just the ticket. i was out of my element-in my element. in an unfamiliar landscape known as competition. and i loved it. the challenge distracted me from my heartbreak whilst giving me a place to ponder. i swam on the team for only a year. lesson: water is a place for training-and quiet introspection.

it would be many years later when i came back to the pool. i was a young mother. pregnant with my first child. the only comfortable way for me to get a good workout with my growing body was by taking to the water. i met others in my situation and formed sweet friendships that carried me through 3 more pregnancies. lasting friendships until we moved away. lesson: water is a source of encouragement.

fast forward to this summer. i am now a mother to 4 strong swimmers who can swim without parental supervision!!! i can take to the swim lanes and lose myself in the monotany of the strokes. coming up, i see my boys are doing the same. swimming laps. i've come full circle. from a young swimmer myself to a mother of 4 young swimmers. water has been a constant in my life. unlike any other earthly element, it brings both great joy and great fear. a healthy sense of respect. a place where challenge has met comfort. lesson: water is a teacher.

i have long dreamed for a little dwelling that is situated with a view of the water be it lake, pond, ocean or even a bay. a place with water feature. perhaps someday. lesson: water is home?

h2o. that simple, yet powerful often translucent sometimes dangerous always essential element. it makes me swoon and lose my breath{whenever i drive over bridges}. always appreciative of having my feet on land. but within reach of water is even better. 

here's to a weekend within reach of the water.


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