lake nokomis open swim
Calm, sunny. The first loop was smooth, no chop. The water not quite glass, but almost. The second loop was rougher. Is it because of all of the swimmers in the water? Are they churning it up? Hard to believe with so few swimmers, so much water, but the wind was only 3 mph so I guess we–the 100 of us swimming loops tonight–were making waves. I felt strong and fast and in my element. Only one more open swim at each of the lakes for this season. Sad to have the season end, but happy to have made the most of it. I swam a lot this summer.
My favorite thing about the swim tonight: More than the calm water of the first loop, or the feeling of strength and speed, was the sky and the clouds. In one small patch of the sky were some shredded clouds making a pattern of diamonds or dots. It reminded me, but probably didn’t look anything like it, the painstakingly repeated dots or brush strokes on a painting I saw at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts this weekend. When I breathed on my left side, I kept turning my neck to catch a quick glimpse of them. Very cool.
A poetry person on twitter thoughtfully shared this essay from 2018: Searching for a Lost Odessa/ Ilya Kominsky. The entire essay is amazing, but I wanted to especially remember this part:
I wonder: In these streets I can still share with you, Father, streets where you watched your own deaf father in 1945, were you bewildered by his deafness? I come back so that I can see for you the Odessa streets your deaf father saw. Sounds are contagious even if no one notices. The sound of someone breathing heavily in line for groceries affects the breathing rate of others in the line. I am walking to the Hotel Krasnaya, to see a stranger’s wedding.
You once stole for me seven pieces of wedding cake. Look, now I tell you seven things a deaf man sees at weddings:
One. When husbands smile at their wives, the corners of their mouths move toward their eyes. But when they smile at the notary signing the wedding certificate, I see the corners of their mouths move toward their ears.
Two. When businesspeople speak, they stand toe to toe. But if one person’s foot begins to move away, this person wants to be someplace else.
Three. When couples eat cake and they are happy, their legs wiggle or bounce. But we don’t need to look under the tables to see happy feet. See their shirts or shoulders. See how the wiggling feet make shoulders, too, vibrate.
Four. A crowd waiting at the wedding buffet. Notice how people whistle to calm themselves.
Five. A woman talks to the relative who makes her slightly uncomfortable. She touches her face, licks lips.
Six. Sometimes it is a man who is uncomfortable. See his unease by how he’s stroking his beard.
Seven. If there is an orchestra at the wedding, there is silence in the conductor’s fingers before the baton lifts, making music visible inside the bodies of others.
Deafness is a theater. Here the deaf person is the audience. Everyone else is an actor. No need to worry about the silent world to which the hearing people think we are exiled. The deaf do not believe in silence. Silence is the invention of the hearing.