Spring. Summer. Swimming.

I miss the Wind.

Her running rush of fever.  So playful, so slighting.
And a spring-time summery butter yellow sunshine day.  Softening the face of the earth to malleable again.
I miss the Water.
Her crisp, siren song hello in all your nerves.
To be in control of the anarchy of all your feelings and thoughts.  Dishes handed off and passed around the table: “Can I?” to “I Can” to “I Shall”.
To leave the land behind.  To never look back.  It won’t ever be the same as when you left.
“Where can I take me?”
“How far can I go?”
The invisible hands of the water holding you aloft.  I am flying!
It’s not that there is no fear.  It’s not that there is no pain.  It’s not that there is no hard.
It’s just that there is more to me than all of that.
And the words we exchange, the Water and I, without ever speaking… when I know I can go on and even when I don’t.  As long as she lets me through.
Looking back.
Back at me.
My own eyes.
This reflection.
Dearest Alice – Water is the only mirror into which you can fall and find adventure.
And I miss It.
Soon –
When the pale, sweet cream frozen world so deathly still begins to brighten again.  And the distant dance of the frigid moon across long night skies has ended…
Patient.  Waiting.  Longing.
Soon.
We shall again.
Be swimming!

The One Thing A Coach Can’t Teach You

When Valentine’s Day rolls around, I get pretty excited about those Dove Dark Chocolates with the little messages inside.  They say things like, “You’re awesome!” and “You’re so awesome you don’t need to date!” and “Do something nice for yourself.”  I read them, and I always feel like, “Well, I’m going to take my awesome self and go swimming now!”

Sometimes, when I’m really working on my swim stroke, I feel that most of my instructions come floating through my mind in the voices of many different coaches and in much the same packaging as those little foil wrappers with the notes inside (except I never get any chocolate).

“Keep your head down!”  

“Reach forward!”

“Elbows High!”

“I said keep your head down!”  

“Arms on tracks; don’t criss-cross over your head!”

“Nice Early Vertical Forearm!” 

…But nobody sells swim advice candy hearts.   It doesn’t matter if they did, because – as I’ve said previously – nothing you could ever buy can make you a better, more efficient swimmer; you have to do that.

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The Channel Checklist: January

 

It’s kind of funny, but I used to think that all I needed for swimming was a suit, cap and goggles.  Well… and a pool.  Now that we’re in the Year of the Channel, the list is so much longer.  It seeps into my time and my lifestyle.  It’s amazing how deliberate and thoughtful I have to be about most things.  To give you an idea, here’s a glimpse at some of January’s list as I slowly pick away at it.

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