Day 47: Swimming


Taking part in the Ann Dee Ellis 8-Minute Memoir Writing Challenge. This is Day Forty-Seven.

I’ve been stuck on this one, letting it drift in and out, and considering skipping it—because I was also stuck on the narrow idea of lapis blue pools surrounded by concrete, and my general distaste for the sting of chlorine in my nose, and the itch of my skin post commercial swim. Then I realized I was looking at it wrong.

I dont hate swimming, but I am not a creature of the water. If you pull my real astrological chart and look at the math, I am all air and fire. When you add water you get a swamp. It’s not my thing. But I can appreciate it for what it is.

When I imagine hell, it’s deep and watery and dark; not the classical burning and brimstone of Dante. And I may never forgive Steven Peck for making a library so terrifying, but that’s another story for another day.

My best recollection of swimming is as follows:

There was no moon. Despite deep nightfall, the surface of the black lake was balmy and warm and as I lowered myself silently into the silky darkness, the water cooler the deeper my legs slipped, and my breath caught in my chest. Slick plants tickled my ankles as I pushed away from the worn wooden dock, still holding heat of the August day. Acrid smoke from forrest fires hung heavy in the air, carried on the evening breezes away from the lake, but making the air pungent with cedar and off-season holidays.

Pushing gently further from the dock, I slipped the floating tube under myself and laid back into the embrace of the water. The sky above was inky, but the show was supposed to start soon. My eyes closed, the rolling edge of the lake tickled my neck and I breathed in the silence.

I was waiting on the Perseid Meteor shower. Peacefully and and deeply content, I floated alone on the vast still lake. Silently the meteors began to rain down, the only light in the deep black summer skies. I imagine them reflected in my eyes, and wondered what things the world had in store for me. I felt magical- like God put on this show just for me, while everyone else slept. Everything was possible.