I live only 65 paces from a beautiful blue pool that is private and still and almost completely unused. How many times do you think I’ve used in this summer?
Well, I’ve tortured myself a couple of dozen times as I walk around it, looking up at the trees and the sky with Lady Eleanor. But I’ve only actually gotten wet twice. Today, and the day before yesterday. On both days, The Wife and I switched shifts to allow the other a short escape from A/C and babies for blue skies and cool water. Nice.
And what does one do when one is in a pool by oneself? The other day, I just sort of nervously moved around from end to end, trying not to look weird and uncomfortable (just in case anyone was looking). You see, last time I was swimming, I was trying to learn to surf/not drown, so the lack of raison d’être was disconcerting. The still water was nice enough, but I was looking for something to do, I guess.
Today, I followed my muse a bit. Which found me diving into the pool from all angles, feeling the freedom that comes with that split-second of falling, enjoying the rip of the water as your body tears an opening in its surface, and soaking in the silence of sliding in that arc back toward the surface.
It reminded me of when I was a boy, and my crafty mother would pick the hottest days of the year (this was before we had A/C) to head to the pool. Except this was no ordinary pool, no. My mom would throw in with some friends or family to rent a room at Rockford, Illinois’ famous Clock Tower Inn for the day. We’d use the room to change and to eat sandwiches out of the red Coleman cooler. But we’d spend the whole day at the pool, running around with siblings and cousins and neighbors, rubbing elbows with the regular guests as we moved from indoor to outdoor to hot tub and back again.
Mostly, we’d jump into the water. From the side of the pool, and from the low board, and from the high board. To dive, and cannonball, and to twist and turn and pencil and plunk. To make the biggest splash, or the tallest, or the smallest. In all of it, I think, to feel some of that anxiety, some of that excitement, some of that fear that comes with challenging yourself to do something new and unfamiliar.