As I look at this drop of water I am reminded that each event in our lives ripples out and touches people and places we may never know of. It also reminds me that over 45 years ago I began my own love affair with water.
At 10 1/2 years of age I decided (I think it was me, anyways) that I wanted to learn how to swim. I took the bus to the local swimming pool and joined the group labelled 'non-swimmers'. I was a little self-conscious because all of the other members of my group came up to my shoulders as they were all 5 or 6 years old. However, I remained undaunted and did everything I was told, everything. I was determined. Thankfully, I spent only one session in the 'non-swimmers' group and was moved up to 'pre-beginners' and then 'beginners' over the course of a few months. It was when I got to the next group that the seriousness of my quest was challenged. I could float front and back. I could bob like no one you've ever seen. Bubbles underwater??? My specialty! Flutter kick holding on to the side??? I could do that ALL day! But, this crazy teacher wanted me to SWIM from one side of the pool to the other. Hmmmm. . . wasn't quite there yet. I don't remember my swim teacher's name or face but I do remember her telling me that I had to go home EVERY day after lessons and do 100 front crawl strokes against the wall. I should focus on my style and make sure that I breathed properly, as if I was really in the water. By this time I was 11. Softball was my first love and this winter swimming thing was now crossing over into ball season, the season I lived and died for. I reminded myself that I was the one that wanted to learn how to swim, no one was forcing me so EVERY night (sometimes 2 or 3 times) I did 100 front crawl strokes against my bedroom wall. I moved from beginners to juniors to seniors in short order and swimming, while a distant second to fastball, moved up the ranks as one of my favourite things to do.
Fast forward to my junior high years when we were posted to Comox (a move I WASN'T enthusiastic about by the way) and that's where swimming became an even bigger part of my life. We lived by the ocean! We could walk there EVERY day! The sand was warm and life at the beach soon made me forgive my dad and mom for making me move there. I still took swim lessons and happily took on the challenges that come with the bronze medallion and the bronze cross courses. My summers after grade 10 and 11 and 12 were spent teaching swim lessons and lifeguarding. They called this 'work' and even paid me for it ($1.25/hr for teaching lessons and $1.50 /hr for lifeguarding). The summer after grade 12 was great as I worked at the pool but then September came. The pool closed, there was no school to go back to, my boyfriend had up and left me for university and my parents told me it was time to start paying rent. Off I went in search of a 'real' job. I soon landed a job at a bank and spent the next 15 years in a variety of banks in a variety of places as Bob and I married, he finished university and we started our family. I made one valiant move and re-certified in my bronze cross after having our first baby but swimming soon became second to surviving marriage and motherhood ;)
None of our children embraced the water. They all preferred the hardwood and the solid ground. They all swim but none of them have a passion for it. As a matter of fact, somewhere along the line I also lost my passion for it.
Fast forward again to retirement (Oh Happy Day!). When my husband joined me in retirement mode last June we took a few weeks to sort out our routines and rhythms. We have done a bit of golfing, more biking and then a few weeks ago we started swimming. Day 1 was okay. Day 2 was better. It's now been 3 weeks and we go 4 or 5 times a week. I'm up to 40 lengths and when we get up in the morning it just seems right that we have breakfast and go to the pool. I am reminded now how much I loved the water. I get in, float around for a bit, swim my lengths and then just paddle. Being in the water feels so right again. Having the time to enjoy it feels so right as well. It's also wonderful to watch our grandchildren learning to love the water at such a young age. It was marvelous watching Elizabeth spend all day in the lake up at the family cabin and we took Kai to the pool last week where he practiced floating and blowing bubbles and pulling Gramma and Grampa under the water to watch him.
I am participating in the Deepak Chopra 21 day meditation challenge and a couple of days ago there was a mention of water and how water reacts to emotion. This was all a reminder of how the energy we give off affects our own energy levels as well as that of the world around us. I don't know if it's the water affecting me these days or the fact that I'm relaxed and enjoying it but I do know that if you've run into me in the last few weeks you'll have gotten a much more positive vibe than in the weeks preceding my return to the water.
As I dive in I watch the bubbles float up and the ripples spread out and I am so happy that I did all those strokes against the wall and learned to love the water all those years ago. It feels like I have come home.
For an interesting read, check out the book, "The Secret Life of Water" by Masaru Emoto