dec 16/SWIM

1.5 miles
ywca pool

Another swim! Felt good. A little sluggish at the beginning, but strong. Mostly steady splits and only stopped a few times. Didn’t count laps at all and had no idea how long I had been swimming until Scott showed up at the end of my lane. Unintentionally raced the guy swimming on one side of me. Well, more like, he tried to race me. Admired the stroke of the older swimmer on the other side. Could tell he was a good swimmer. After I was done, Scott and I talked with him for a few minutes in the hot tub. He’s in his mid to late 60s and was a distance swimmer 45 years ago. Wow — I bet he was good in college.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the water was a little cloudy
  2. the guy next to me (the one who raced me) started by walking down his lane to the edge of the deep end
  3. this same guy hardly kicked at all, as far as I could see. Was he using a pull buoy?
  4. during my start ritual — pushing off and swimming underwater until I reach the blue line right before the deep end — I swam just above the bottom. I watched the blue tiles, 6 across, as I kicked my legs and tried to squeeze my outstretched arms to my ears
  5. lifting my head out of the water and seeing orange
  6. the red racing suit of a woman in the hot tub — not lifeguard red, darker and deeper than that
  7. my nose squeaking because my nose plug had shifted
  8. the water being churned up by a woman next to me as she did a fast 50
  9. almost every time I raised my eyes out of the water to see if Scott was there, or someone else who wanted to split a lane, I mistook my blue towel for a woman in a blue bathing suit
  10. the flip turn of the woman next to me, especially the phase of it when she was on her back, before the pushed off and twisted around

Earlier this morning, I shoveled the deck and the sidewalk. Heavy, wet snow that stuck to my bright orange plastic shovel. I could hear the whirr and the buzz of several snow blowers. Felt my forearm and elbow ache after I was done. Mostly, I don’t mind shoveling. It’s satisfying and a chance to be outside, breathing in the air, giving attention to the snow.

Looking for poems about shoveling snow and snowblowers (which is difficult), I came across a mention of “The Snowblower Ballet.” Here’s a description from a funding request for a snowblower ballet in the twin cities from 2016. Wow!

The Snowblower Ballet is a project that would involve dancers, wielding snowblowers and shovels, clearing a snow-covered surface in a dance set to music. In addition to performing a dance, they’ll create a pattern, an image in the snow, captured by a drone flying above, transforming the familiar but dreary toil of snow removal into unexpected joyful art. We want to stage a large scale Busby Berkeley version of the project on Harriet Island in St. Paul in January 2018, as well as a smaller scale pas de deux between two snowblowers on White Bear Lake in February 2017 as part of the Art Shanty Project. The Harriet Island version will be funded with a Knight Foundation grant, but only if we get matching funds. Art Shanty will pay us $200 for the White Bear Lake performance, but that’s not enough to hire dancers and a choreographer. That’s where we hope an Awesome grant will come in. We hope that a grant from Awesome will make the Art Shanty dance possible, which we can then turn into a video to generate excitement to raise money to make the expanded Harriet Island version a reality. Won’t you help us turn snow shoveling into art and bring joy to Minnesotans in the depth of winter.

The Snowblower Ballet

It doesn’t look like they ever got the funding they needed for it. Or did they?