lake nokomis open swim
First swim back since last Monday. I’ve missed it. Almost thought it wouldn’t happen; it was supposed to rain. Instead, cloudy. Hooray!
I had a rough start. Right before swimming, I couldn’t get my nose plug to stay on my nose. After taking it off and putting it on again several times, I decided it was good enough and headed out to the first orange buoy. A few strokes in, I had to stop. A leaking goggle. Fixed it, started again. A minute or two later, I could tell my nose plug wasn’t on fully. Stopped in the middle of the lake to adjust it. A few minutes after that, my eye began to burn — I hadn’t rinsed out all the baby shampoo I use to de-fog my goggles. I swam with my eyes closed for a few strokes then stopped to rinse my eyes and goggles out while treading water halfway between the shore and the middle green buoy.
I had hoped to recite Mary Oliver’s “Swimming, One Day in August” as I swam, at least the first lines: It is time now, I said,/ for the deepening and the quieting of the spirit/among the flux of happenings. But, it was hard to think about deepening and quieting when my eyes were burning and my nose plug was leaking. After completing 2 loops, I decided to stop and stand and rest at the big beach for a minute and then find a way to get deeper and quieter for my last loop. I think it worked.
- seagulls! Maybe a dozen, standing in the water near the shore
- a gray morning with rain coming
- water temperature warmer than the air
- opaque water — no silver flashes
- a few boats in the water, mostly lifeguards in kayaks
- the buoys were off from my line of landmarks — the top of the building, the over-turned boat, so I swam wide and on the edges of the course as I kept the landmarks in sight
- smooth water — were there any waves?
- no vines or weeds or floating chunks of vegetation
- no sun
- at least one plane in the sky
A strange sensation. I keep having flashes of memory about the swim that seem like dreams. Was I dreaming as I swam, or did I dream about swimming last night? Maybe a bit of both?
Hard for me to believe, but it looks like I haven’t posted Mary Oliver’s poem, “Swimming, One Day in August” in its entirety. Here it is:
Swimming, One Day in August/ Mary Oliver
It is time now, I said,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit
among the flux of happenings.
Something had pestered me so much
I thought my heart would break.
I mean, the mechanical part.
I went down in the afternoon
to the sea
which held me, until I grew easy.
About tomorrow, who knows anything.
Except that it will be time, again,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit.