The Mountain

I hear the voice of the Mountain.  Close your eyes and feel the blood pumping just below the surface of your skin…  A current.  A whisper. I can hear my own heart beat in that river; a steady rhythm that gives me life.   Just below the surface of my skin with my eyes closed…

That is how I hear the Mountain.

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I have to go.  I have to go and be in the wilds and the woods and the waters.  I have to.  My spirit needs the silence between the gusts of wind.  The gentle cascade of water.  The creaking trees and their tousling leaves.  The footfalls on the path…

It is home.

I know I am soft and small in her vastness and we are not friends.  I know I am not disciplined or strong the way I ought to be.  I know that I do not understand the voice I hear. Still there are barriers between us…  I have been sheltered and safe for so long.

But I know that you have a voice, Mountain.  And I know that I hear it with my alien ears that long for understanding of what the earth would ask of me.  How can I serve you?  How can I shelter and steward and bless you?  Tell me.

I must go.  I must press into the sound I hear all around and within me.

Oh steady rhythm.  Just below the surface of my skin.

You Always, Never Change

The alarm went off at 4 am.  Because some things never change.

The smoothie filled with spinach and berries and coconut milk.  The coffee smell filling the air.  The brown dog wiggling in excitement at another day, watching me intently.  Because some things never change.

Surveying.  Chemistry.  That HP calculator I don’t know how to use and it’s sticky number 3.  The field book and my painstaking notes that I hope are good enough.  Did I remember to do everything?  Don’t forget –

The book of coaching materials – workouts and drills.  A stack of notes on other people’s stroke work.  I love the bird’s eye view from the pool deck and the chlorine smell. It satisfies me in a way that my own achievements haven’t.

Running from the pool to class. The calculations trickling from the faucet in my brain down my arm and out the end of my pencil.  I’m not sure.  Is it?  

… I can do this.  Because some things never change.

Work calls.  Some kind of drama with something.  And a report due.  Can you do it?  Of course I can.  Because some things never change.  The hours disappear.  I’m not sure where they went.

I sit at a table by myself for lunch.  I look around for a familiar face but there are none.  Just me, today.  I am content.  Because some things never change.

And my brain switches from one flow to another.  The notes are frantic and disjointed – I am tired. 12 hours?  Already?  Just make it through this class…

Down to the water.  Slipping into the secret abandon and whispering under the calm stillness.  I believe in me. I believe in me.  Because some things never change.

Drive an hour and a half to get back home.  Back to the brown dog.  Back to more work and homework.

I want to watch TV.  Maybe this weekend I can schedule it in…

Because some things never change.

I kinda like you, Bethany Bosch.  If anybody is going to get something done, it’s you.  Because you always, never change.

My Friend, The Sea

I couldn’t tell you the last time I swam in the sea.  I tried, but couldn’t pinpoint it.  I used to be in the ocean once a month or more.  Long swims, short swims… the cold and the salt and the bags of feed and clothes and everything.  How much time?  How much money?  How much energy getting back and forth?

It was my purpose, it didn’t matter what it cost me.  Not really.  The investment was worth it.  The investment.  In myself.  In my athleticism.  In my confidence.  In who I was meant to become.  Now, that must shift.  I have other purposes.  New investments.  New growth.  New dreams to pursue.  I must evolve.

But as I dove into the green gold salty fluid – I heard my name in the bubbles swirling around my head.  I heard a song from the deep.  I felt the ocean squirm with delight around me as the wind and waves churned and swirled and wrapped me in fond hellos.

Oh my friend the sea!  I think I was born for you.  I think I was yours from beyond the deep.  I think the sky and the water are twins and somehow I am their kin.  I would not presume to know them, but I could spend a lifetime discovering all their secrets.  Today, I know, she was glad to see me.  She reminded me of Guri in her wild enthusiasm as she frothed and laughed and tossed me to and fro in her surf.

I missed you, too, my friend… I whispered as I sang into the sea whatever sound I felt in my being to release.

I missed you, too.

Summer Silk

I watched the clock beat down to 4 o’clock, flicking my eyes from the computer and back again.  Then it was there.  The magic hour.  I got my swim bag and made the costume change.  I forgot my sandals. I headed to the Lake in my sunglasses, swimsuit, sundress, and shin socks with bright stars on them and steel-toed boots.

The water was warm.  So warm and comforting, it was like a new skin of a perfect fit.  Each arm entering felt surrounded in swirling silk and soft velvet.  I swam without looking where I was going for a long time.  It didn’t matter.  Nothing mattered.  I was in my favorite place – myself.  Navigating the murky thoughts and feelings and setting them right.

Precalculus left me alone for those moments.  The engineering degree plan and its accompanying stress slipped out the back door of my brain.  The pressure of organizing my next swim class evaporated.  Work was over.

I didn’t think about the memoir I am writing or the children’s books I seem to have collected in my brain that haven’t made themselves into words just yet.  I am often in those works – leaving where I am in trade for memories and mores.

But for now, there was nothing to do or be done.  There was only my friend, the water, and she was unspoiled by the sour taste of stress.  All I thought about was gliding forward with the next stroke and feeling the summer silk swirling around me.  I rested in the joy of this stroke and the hope of the next one.

Somewhere in the midst of that most perfect place, I began to realize that, for the first time over two years, I was not in any kind of pain.  Nowhere.  The consistent pain in my shoulder for years was gone.  My back with its debilitating spasms was quiet.  I was free.  Oh, so free.

I was so happy, I didn’t even know I was crying.

Vermont Swim Tour: Lake Pauline

Our Memorial Day Three Lakes in One Day adventure continued from Elfin Lake to Route 100.

DRIVE

DRIVE TO THE NEXT LAKE! SWIM MORE!

 

 

I had driven Scenic Route 100 one Fall afternoon and was struck by the beauty and the proximity to water all along the way.  I determined I would come back and swim the Route 100 corridor between Ludlow to Killington.

Lake Pauline

Lake Pauline’s location

 

The very first access point we came to was Lake Pauline.  There isn’t really a slipway at the junction of E Lake Road and Route 100, but you can walk around the concrete dam with its gentle and romantic waterfall to access the Lake.  Lake Pauline may not even be its actual name – it’s just the way it’s labeled on Google Maps.

Water under the bridge

The view from the waterfall.

We swam from the southern end of the Lake upstream for a while.  It was really beautiful scenery with the mountains and quaint Vermont homes.  The water was sparkling clear as well.  A touch colder than Elfin Lake, but once you got moving it was really spectacular.

Bill even managed to capture the following intense and captivating footage of three swimmers and a dog:

 

Good Luck

I found four four leaf clovers in a row.  For serious!

The Waterfall

None of us tackled the waterfall, we’ll save that for next time.

Vermont Spring Swim Tour: Elfin Lake

Elfin Lake

Cute little body of water!

Some crazy friends and I decided that a great way to kick off Memorial Day Weekend would be to swim in three different lakes in one day.  Our plan formulated like this:

“Hey!  Who wants to swim in three different lakes in one day?”

“I do!”

“Pick me!”

“Okay!”

“Which lakes are swimming in?”

“We’ll start at Elfin Lake… then we’ll just drive until we find a slipway.”

“Okay!”

“Great!”

Beautiful Ladies

Bold Adventurers!

Elfin Lake is the man-made lake in Wallingford, VT.  It’s quaint and quiet and a good spot for open water swim training.  It’s only about 1,000 feet long, so it’s pretty comfortable and relatively safe to swim in.  Good for a wake-up swim!

We accessed Elfin Lake by parking at the Stone Meadow Entrance and walking in on the trails.  There is a whole network of trails throughout Stone Meadow and around Elfin Lake that are good for running or walking or whatever.  It’s a great recreational facility.

Elfin Lake Temperature Check

Temperature check!

The water temperature was about 74 degrees – plenty warm enough!

Guri and the Stick

Can we just talk about how beautiful this dog is?

Guri was the overachiever of the swim.  She found a stick about as long as her and proceeded to carry it around the lake!  Love that dog.

All the legs

All the sexy legs.

From the public beach to the boy’s camp beach (where Guri and I photobombed a wedding, once) across the lake and back to the public beach is just about 850 yards.

A decent way to kick off a great swim plan!  From there, we headed back to my house for some breakfast and to scheme about our next leg of the great adventure!

 

 

Miss Adventure Speaks!

I am pleased to announce that I have been booked to speak at my first national conference in Indianapolis, Indiana this July!

The Women’s Board of the Car Care Council is an organization devoted to seeing the success of young women in the automotive industry by providing scholarships and educational opportunities.  As a woman in the engineering field and having just returned to school myself, I have a deep appreciation for this vision.

It is truly an honor to be invited to present my English Channel story at their Women’s Leadership Conference.

Women's Board

 

To find out more about the conference and organization, you can check them out here: https://cccwomensboard.wordpress.com/