june 14/SWIM

1 loop (about .75 miles/1320 yds)
lake nokomis
95 degrees
5:30 pm

Open swim! Open swim! Hooray for the first open swim! It was hot and crowded and very windy. And wonderful, even though my nose plug fell off during my swim across to the little beach. I developed an allergy 6 or 7 years ago and have been wearing a nose plug ever since. I’ve often wondered if I still really needed it. Yep. Stuffed up nose last night. Oh well, I survived and now I know: always wear a nose plug.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the water was mostly smooth swimming from the big beach to the little beach
  2. lots of silver streaks or flashes below me: big fish, I think
  3. breathed every 5, except for in the choppiest parts
  4. only got quick flashes of orange and green buoys
  5. from the little beach back to the big beach the water was very choppy, lots of waves
  6. when I stopped to get my bearing, or to adjust my goggles, I could hear the loud din from the big beach — so many people!
  7. I hardly ever encountered any other swimmers out in the lake, although I know there were many more people swimming with me
  8. glimpse 1: a swimmer, not too far from me, between the first and second buoys. All I could see was the bright yellow swim buoy tethered to their waist
  9. glimpse 2: 2 women treading water near the 3rd orange buoy/little beach — at least, I think there were 2 of them. I couldn’t see them, just heard their voices. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, just that they were talking. I think it might have been about how difficult the swimming was today
  10. I passed by several lifeguards on kayaks — a few of them moved back to give me space, one of them seemed to paddle alongside me for a few strokes

A great first swim. I couldn’t sight the buoys very well, and couldn’t really see that I was going the right way. I just knew I was. Maybe because my eyes were giving my brain visual data that I wasn’t consciously aware of. Maybe because I use other modes than seeing to navigate. And maybe because my body has memorized this route, having done so many loops, every summer since 2013.

Swimming Laps/ Arthur Sze

Swimming backstroke toward the far end of a pool in sunlight—

yellow flares in the nearby aspens—

in the predawn sky, Mars and Venus glimmered—

how is it a glimmering moment coalesces, and the rest slides like flour through a sieve?—

how is it these glimmerings become constellations in a predawn sky?—

reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming freestyle—

how is it we bobbed in water beyond the breaking surf, and I taste that salt in my mouth now?—

how is it, dishevelled, breathless, we drew each other up into flame?

how is it that flame burns steadily within?—
reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming sidestroke—

with each scissors kick, I know time’s shears—

this is not predawn to a battle when the air dips to a windless calm—

let each day be lived risking feeling loving alive to ivy reddening along the fence—

reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming breaststroke—

how is it I see below then above a horizon line?—

how is it I didn’t sputter, slosh, end up staring at a Geiger counter clock mounted on a barroom wall?—

I who have no answers and glimmering shards—

reaching the wall, I pause, climb out of the pool, start a new day—