My quick attempt at showing you why I have an intense love of the water. I’ve specific stories throughout my life of meaningful times in my life and a water-associated memory with them that I’ll share later, but this is overall why it’s a true love.
As early as I can remember, I swam. At my grandparents’ lake, at my parents’ friends’ pools, around the coral reefs of the Red Sea, community pools while my mother played tennis, Lake Mead, my own pool once my parents built one, various rivers. Water baby. Water girl. Water lover.
Being in it, I feel like I’m in another world. A place where I’m so “in” my body – I can’t help but be aware of every inch of my skin. The temperature of the water against it, the swirl of the currents, how it pushes and pulls me. When I’m swimming, I can hear my own movements with and against the water. I can hear myself breathing. At the same time I’m so aware of myself, the rest of the world is gloriously muted. I can’t hear others as well either from the water over my ears or from the noisiness of splashing or the surf. People are quieter. My mind is quieter.
When I can’t be in it, I am still calmed by its sound, lapping waves, tinkling ripples, drips and dribbles. I can enjoy watching it in the glow of the sunlight or moonlight off of it. Rhythmic. Steady. In that moment – it seems so reliable. Come back another day and it’s still rhythmic and steady, but at another cadence. Nothing pushes pause on my constant thoughts, thoughts, thoughts like the sound of the surf.
And it’s beautiful, sometimes peacefully, sometimes terrifyingly so. The way a moonless night can make water look – just void – a vast nothingness in front of me. The way the sun looks like its making a river of gold right up to my feet when I stand in the surf at sunset. The way it glistens as I splash my way through the shallows at sunrise. The way I can disappear into its inkiness and stare up through it at the distorted night sky.
I’ve spent hours and hours of my life in pools, lakes, seas and oceans. I don’t ever remember fearing the water or what’s in it (ok, except snakes at country lakes – pass hard, no). But the water has only ever been something I wanted to be a part of, to respect for its power, to be a strong enough swimmer to feel confident to float in it, dive into a big way, jump over the little ones. I’ve had more dreams than I can count of being able to breathe in it.
All that said, I can’t say that I’m all that surprised to be living this next chapter of my life by the ocean. I want to get to know my new water’s rhythm. Have all weather gear ready to enjoy it on a hot day or a rainy one – winter or summer. I want to mark my time by it. And know that I’m celebrating every day of my life the same way I celebrate every sunset over it, every high tide that laps at my calves.