july 23/SWIM

5 loops!
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees

5 loops! The most I have swum this summer at one open swim session. I had to get out after 2 loops to go to the bathroom and then stopped for a break after loop 4. With those breaks, I finished 10 minutes before open swim ends. If I began right when open swim started and didn’t take any breaks, could I do 6 loops in the 2 hours? Maybe that should be an end of August goal?

The water was wonderful — calm, not too cold, buoyant. The air was hazy and I couldn’t see the orange buoys at all for sighting. I also couldn’t see the flash of the white boat that I use for sighting. Before starting, I lined up my path with the far shore and the white boat, then began swimming, trusting that my body — my shoulders, my hips, legs, feet, brain — knew the way to go. And they did. And I didn’t panic or wonder if I was off course. All these years of working on letting go of the need to know exactly where I was going, the need for confirmation with a clear view, is paying off. I can swim without needing to SEE.

The water was opaque, the color of brown lentils. I kept seeing flashes just below me. I wondered if they were big fish or just a trick of the light. None of the flashes bumped into me, so I didn’t care what they were.

As I swam, I devoted some of my time to listening to the different gurgling and sloshing and splashing sounds my body made as I moved through the water — the slosh past my ear, the gurgle of my mouth, the splash as my arm lifted out of the water near my leg then reentered above my head.

On the back end of at least 2 loops (the stretch from little beach back to big beach), I recited the Tony Hoaglund poem I just memorized — The Social Life of Water. I thought about the different types of water and then where humans fit in — aren’t we 98% water? I also thought about the last few lines:

But you, you stand on the shore
of blue Lake Kieve in the evening
and listen, grieving
as something stirs and turns within you.

Not knowing why you linger in the dark.
Not able even to guess
from what you are excluded.

I thought about how different it is to be standing on the shore versus being in the water, swimming through it, being rocked by the waves, hearing sounds underwater, feeling the cold. I don’t think I can understand like the line, all water understands, suggests, but I do believe that I witness the social life of water in a different way when I’m in it.