august 19/SWIM

2 loops
lake nokomis open swim
65 degrees
10:00 am

Again this morning, I thought open swim would be cancelled because of thunderstorms. Only delayed! I did a fast two loops while Scott ran around the lake. The water was cooler, but I liked that.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the cry of a seagull
  2. then, a bunch of seagulls* congregating on the beach
  3. a grayish white sky
  4. the green buoy looked white from a distance and like a sail from a sailboat
  5. setting up the course, the lifeguard directing the other lifeguards on where to place the buoys used the following as points of orientation: the 50th street beach (the little beach), cedar bridge, and wheels of fun. Wheels of fun? I delightedly thought this might be some inside joke until I mentioned it to Scott and he said it was a reference to the bike rental place. I prefer to think of it as an inside joke between lifeguards referring to some place or thing or memory about the lake or guarding it
  6. a few silver flashes below
  7. a vine crossing over my arm
  8. a menancing swan pedal boat in the middle of the course**
  9. feeling buoyant and strong, floating on top of the water
  10. breathing every 5 strokes

*some names for a collection of seagulls: a flock (and I ran, I ran so far away), colony, squabble, flotilla, scavenging, gullery

**some names for a collection of swans: wedge, ballet, lamentation, whiteness, regatta. I think I prefer, a menace of swans.

Here’s a useful article about collective names for birds: Popular Names for Flocks of Birds and How They Fly Together

Sometimes when I’m in the water, swimming fast and with strong strokes, I remember my much younger self: Sara, age 8. Strong, brave, sturdy, solid, a force to be reckoned with. This poem makes me think of her:

Girl in the Woods/ Alice White

I get glimpses of her in pictures, in
a t-shirt and no underwear, before
she cared, or bareback on a horse before
the branch. Before boobs, before boys. Before
school she was everywhere, that much is sure —
before the world condensed into a shape
to fit into. Some days I can sense her:
I disappeard from a girl scout campout
to comandeer a wooden raft I found,
looking. My counsellor shook her head, just said
I wouldn’t have expected this of you.
Whever I think I’ve got hold of her,
she kicks my shin and wriggles from my grasp,
runs for the trees, calls back, Try and catch me —