july 25/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
90 degrees

Today, before open swim, I memorized parts of 2 more water poems that I’d like to think about and maybe attempt to recite as I swim: part II of Alice Oswald’s Evaporations and several stanzas from Anne Sexton’s The Nude Swim:

II / Alice Oswald

In their lunch hour
I saw shop-workers get into water
They put their watches on stones and slithered frightened
Into the tight fitting river
And shook out cuffs of splash
And swam wide strokes towards the trees
And in a while swam back
With rigid cormorant smiles
Shocked I suppose from taking on
Something impossible to think through
Something old and obsessive like the centre of a rose
And for that reason they turned quickly
And struggled to get out again and retrieved their watches
Stooped on the grass-line hurrying now
They began to laugh and from their meaty backs
A million crackling things
Burst into flight which was either water
Or the hour itself ascending.

The Nude Swim/ Anne Sexton

On the southwest side of Capri
we found a little unknown grotto
where no people were and we
entered it completely
and let our bodies loose all
their loneliness.

All of the fish in us
had escaped for a minute.
The real fish did not mind.
We did not disturb their personal life.
We calmly trailed over them and
under them, shedding
air bubbles, little white
balloons that drifted up
into the sun by the boat
where the Italian boatman slept
with his hat over his face.

Water so clear you could
read a book through it.
Water so buoyant you could
float on your elbow.

Very windy at the lake and choppy in the water. Lots of breathing only on one side. After one rough loop I thought I would only do 2, but I stopped after the second for 20-30 seconds and decided I could do one more loop. Glad I did. The final loop seemed easier, not sure why — maybe it was because it was a little less windy, maybe it was because I practiced reciting the Oswald and Sexton poems, or maybe it was because all my swimming this year is paying off and I’m getting stronger. Very glad I went back out for that third loop!

I found the Sexton a little easier to remember and recite in my head as I swam than the Oswald, but it was fun to recite both. Favorite lines: “and let our bodies lose all their loneliness” and “from their meaty backs a millions crackling things burst into flight which was either water or the hour itself ascending”

10 Things

  1. warmer water — but not too warm
  2. fluffy, shredded clouds in the sky
  3. crowded beach and swimming area
  4. breathing mostly on the right side
  5. traffic jams at the far orange and green buoys
  6. a canoe and some paddleboarders on the course
  7. light brown/tan water with a few streaks below
  8. more pink safety buoys than orange or yellow
  9. vegetation wrapped around my shoulder
  10. more vegetation poking up from below