For the first time in at least 12 years, I went swimming in a pool. A real pool, with lane markers and life guards and diving boards. I love swimming, and I was pleased to discover it’s very much like riding a bike–you never really forget how to do it.
A few things have changed in those years. I float a lot more easily now (haha!), and my eyes are worse so I couldn’t rely on them hardly at all. I defaulted to swimming by sound, which was new and fascinating. Swimming underwater, I learned to tell how deep or near to the surface I was based on how my movements sounded, also how close I was to the pool side.
I learned a new stroke (side stroke) courtesy of a friend I shall call Lara, refreshed myself on the strokes I knew, gave up on butterfly (because hellllooo, upper body strength which I Do Not Have), and pulled off 3 dives before feeling like I was pushing my luck. I knew a belly flop was just waiting for me to try one more.
During one of my many breath-catching breaks, I caught a moment of sparrow life. A mother sparrow chirped a long series of notes from the maple trees lining the fence, then a flurry of feathers and younger cheeps answered her. Five fledglings appeared in a cloud of awkward flight, their wings beating rapidly, a chorus of excited chirps sounding very much like “look at us!” They flew a rough semi-circle over the pool and across the neighboring grass before returning to the maple tree. Their mother sounded very proud.
It was strange being at the pool without any children. I’d not left Indy for that long before, and when I realized it was half an hour past closing time I felt a wave of worry and imagined all sorts of scenes involving tears and fussing because Mother hadn’t been home for 2 1/2 hours.
He was fine. Hadn’t fussed at all, wasn’t super hungry either. The other kiddos reacted with squeals and comments like:
“Did you get wet?”
“Yes, she got wet! Look at her hair!”
“What’s that smell?”
“Can I touch your hair?”
“Can I touch your swim suit?”
“Did you win any races?”
And variations several times over.
A wonderful evening, with wonderful family and friends.
Wet, tired, happy.