I go to the pool to swim laps.
As a child, my summer days were spent at the neighborhood pool. After long mornings of swim team practice, I’d wait impatiently for adult swim to be over, recklessly standing on the pool’s stairs and edging deeper and deeper into the water until a shrill warning from the lifeguard’s whistle sent me scurrying back onto the pavement. An unstoppable force at Sharks and Minnows, it was nothing at all to me to sink to the bottom of the 12 foot deep end and pantomime an imaginary underwater tea party.
I’m hard-pressed to reach 10 feet, let alone 12, these days.
But I don’t go to the pool for tea parties anymore. I’ve traded in cannonballs and games of Marco Polo for long, tedious laps, neatly compartmentalized within my lane. I don my swim cap and goggles and my features seem to morph into something less human, more amphibian.
Lap 1…freestyle. Lap 13..backstroke. Lap 27…kickboard. Lap 43…breaststroke. Lap 59…freestyle.
I dutifully cut my way through the water, concentrating on my muscles, breathing, rhythm. Count the strokes. Count the laps. Breathe.
Every now and then, though, as I wait for the lane to clear, I can’t resist one little handstand.