I love to swim. I love to feel the cooling, therapeutic resistance of the water. I love to feel the fluid strength of the ribbons of currents as they wrap around me. I love the gentle struggle against the challenge of the water’s pressure, goading my muscles into movement and future strengths.
I swim the way I dance; with little style but with great enthusiasm. Remnants of distant lessons still remain: breast, butterfly and side stroke combine to provide an extraordinary passage through ocean or pool. And when I float, I still listen to the water gurgle and whisper in my ear, like the faint dialogues of naiads and sylphs.
When the water splashes around me, I can visualize its disruption. I see it freeze for a moment into a crystal palace of waves before it dissolves into itself to await the next interruption. It is like being surrounded by a lithe mosaic, which glitters into life only briefly before its diaphanous vanishes.
In the swimming pool, it amuses me see my arms and legs beneath the water, distorted by the fun house trickery of the mischievous water. The effect is heightened by the sunlight, melting like diamonds in the tiny valleys between the chattering ripples and curls. Light and water join together in a conspiracy of delight and deceit.
But when I swim in the ocean, I can only imagine what is below the surface. I visualize my legs, reaching out with toes en pointe, hovering over the turrets of grottoes and the sea-swept dunes of sand and shell. I glide and tread in dark colors, my skin awash in mystery.
When in the throes of summer, swimming is my cold comfort. During the thick, enervating days and the nervous, sweaty nights the thought of its cooling recklessness is all I have. Swimming is innocent and disruptive, guileless and graceless, childlike in its joy in the water’s benign acceptance. It invites and encourages nothing but spontaneous happiness.
I really do love to swim.