different strokes

May 8, 2020

It’s been a long time since I’ve swum. Even before the pandemic, I was edging away from the pool, substituting breaststroke for sun salutations. It was winter, and for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t feel like swimming. Correction –– I did feel like swimming, I just didn’t want to get wet. And cold. And covered in chlorine. I didn’t want to wrestle with my cap. I didn’t feel like getting to the pool to find nine people in my preferred lane. I didn’t feel like a mouthful of pool water every time a zero-etiquette swimmer splashed past me. I didn’t feel like dodging soggy plasters on my way to the showers. In the past, none of that bothered me. Well, it bothered me, but the joy of swimming was such that I was able to make a mends with it all. I have swum for five years, and swimming has buoyed me in a way that no other exercise ever has. I am eternally grateful to the pool, and to the beautiful people I’ve shared it with over these years. When the pool re-opens, I’m not sure how I’ll feel. Part of me can’t wait to experience those first few strokes, the last few, the weightlessness, the swoosh. And another part of me, (the one with a blocked ear and hairy legs) doesn’t want to go anywhere near a pool. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m contemplating baths.

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