If kids can have their sandbox, I’ll take my waterbox any day. It’s not just a clear blue container, and it serves not just for play – but for sorting out serious matters of the mind and spirit. Its fluidity invites my body to float, flow and fall… safely.
Can you tell that I have become smitten by the dappling sunlight on the surface? That I have been swept away by the shimmering effect on the pool’s floor? That for one hour of aqua-heaven, I am zenned out to the max. Particularly at eight o’clock on a quiet Saturday morning, as the rest of the world sleeps, and I am blessed with 25 meters worth of water all to myself. That is when I feel like a kid in a candy store: where should I go, what should I tackle first? If nobody else is in the pool, will anyone know if I’ve made a splash?
Much like playing solitaire, swimming is a rather lonely sport. However, unlike a game of cards, the adrenaline pumping up and down my body’s interior crevices makes up for the lack of social interaction. Even when I am struck with a bolt of shooting neuropathic pain in the back of my leg, forcing me, mid-lap, to wait and breathe out the ache, I still see that setback as a chance to reset my pace, to stand up and notice the sounds of silence.
After another round of my weekly 40-lap, 1 km early-morning workouts, a deep-end stretch routine and a series of cross-pool jogs, I managed to launch myself up the steps of the shallow end. It is always an odd sensation: trying to head out of the pool, I could swear that an anchor has attached itself to my tailbone, dragging me into the depths of the ocean; or as if a temperamental child has suddenly wrapped his arms around my hips, tugging with all his might, refusing to let me leave.
But I felt wistful as I left the pool today. I’ll be a fish (mermaid?) out of water for awhile, as I replace my cane with a pilgrim’s staff, continuing this journey to healing, of (how many?) steps…in hopefully milder climes.