It seems like water is a theme for me this summer. I know, much of the country is in a serious drought. At the same time, icebergs are melting and the sea level is predicted to rise to dangerous levels within not too many years. But for me, water has been a comforting presence. I never really thought much about it.
Here is how it came out. In attempting to get some use out of a diet book, I was trying to make some changes in my bedroom, to improve my sleep. One thing I considered was changing my curtains. Mind you, I’m not one who does much decorating. Our bedroom has green made to order blinds and lace curtains that I have never particularly liked. I read that one store I frequent had a sale on curtains and went there, only to find that the in-stock ones were not made for rods like we have, which require pinch pleats. At any rate, I found the ones in the store to be much to heavy and dark for my taste. I realized what I was looking for would be insulated, washable and look like watered silk. I never got much further, as I am not very comfortable shopping online and perhaps wasn’t strongly motivated. I hung up a knitted shawl at one end and that was that.
Speaking of shawls, I looked at my favorite ones and realized they had a water theme as well. The first two I made were called ocean and waterfall. That was my inspiration for hanging one up, though it was more of a patchwork thing. But I did start thinking about water. This all followed a trip to the coast, so you can see how it seems like a theme.
I went swimming at Ashram, in a pool I enjoyed as a child. Then a couple of weeks later, a friend invited me to go swimming with them on a hot day. I went and felt completely rejuvenated by the cool refreshing water. I decided it was really time to go out and buy a pool of my own. I have literally felt deprived in recent years because our neighborhood pool was closed. We bought a house with no pool when our children were small, assuming that the one in the park would work just fine for our needs. But times have changed and the city authorities no longer make neighborhood pools a priority.
I know, we could have moved or had one added to our back yard. Nearly every third house in this neighborhood has an in ground pool. But we like it here and never really thought of investing in an in ground pool. I looked at pools last year, and just could not make up my mind what size we should get or where to place it. I’m talking of above ground pools. I like the idea of having the flexibility. If we enjoy it, we can keep it, if not, then not.
But which pool is not the point I’m after here. You see, I live in a hot part of the country. When I was a child, we cooled our house with evaporative coolers. But every afternoon, when the heat would build, we would walk 2 1/2 blocks to the park and go swimming. It cost a dime apiece and my mom kept a bowl of dimes where we could grab them on our way there. Somehow, swimming was like a reward for having such hot weather. We would swim and wrap up in a towel and walk home and be comfortable for quite a while afterwards.
When I was little, every year we took another level of swimming lessons in the mornings. Then we returned in the afternoon to swim again. We might practice the skills we were taught, or just splash and dive under the water in free form play. It was all good. Of course, eventually it became difficult when another pool closed and there was an influx of people to ours, then we could hardly move and our towels sometimes were stolen. So then I moved up to the swim team and got my daily swim that way. In high school I was on the school team as well, definitely a third string type of swimmer. But still, it somehow seemed right to be in a pool on a daily basis.
After high school I got to swim only rarely. I certainly wasn’t good enough for a college team, though I took a lap swim class for my PE credits. But soon I was out and an adult with a job and no time or access to a pool. If I had had my own apartment in a complex with a pool, I’m sure I’d have used it, but I had a dead end, low paying job, so that didn’t happen.
Once I got married, we had little wading pools. I tried to buy ones at least big enough to sit in and cool off. Then the kids got a little older and I took them to swimming lessons at the junior college. Oh how I wished they would open a lane for parents to cool off, but they didn’t. I suggested a parents versus kids race at one point, but they didn’t go for it. For a while we were even going to the neighborhood pool to swim most afternoons. But then they changed the schedule and closed it just when I wanted to swim. A few years later, in the midst of a fiscal crisis, they simply closed the pool.
So now we are going to put up our own. At last I will be able to swim. Well, not swim exactly, like laps, it’s not that big. I suppose if that were a priority, I could eventually move to one designed for laps. But I realized when I swam with my friend and her family, that laps are not really my priority now. Just being in the water, walking around, bobbing up and down and maybe swimming in circles a little sounds like heaven to me.
I’ve come to the conclusion that swimming is a part of my life that I let slip away. But God has a way of bring us back around to things sometimes. I think it will be like when I was small and I swam to cool off and to move around in various ways and just enjoy the cool refreshing water. It doesn’t have to be goal oriented any more to be rejuvenating. And splashing around sure seems like an improvement on sitting under the fan thinking how it’s too hot to go out of the house!