I am drawn to the water. It calls me, though staring and standing at the edge resonate more than venturing to or beyond the horizon. I find solace in the shore – whether seated and gazing out, toes in the sand or swimming and gazing back, beyond where feet can touch. The reference point of land grounds me.
In recent years, the shore has diminished along the lake that has been my anchor, falling away into rising waters, claiming play spaces, yards, landmarks and even houses. The places to sit are fewer but the line remains and the point of reference still grounds.
It is this time of year that the water becomes sustainably swimmable. Though I tolerate icy temperatures, the discomfort and dizziness that come with 55-degree plunges can shorten the time spent counting strokes and buoys.
These days, the laps multiply. One, two, three, breathe – alternating sides each cycle, keeping even on the odd stroke. Counting the multiples of three until the digits triple and then starting again. Observing the sticks at the bottom and the occasional fish between.
Marveling at the clarity of the water. Wondering at the ability to be in, on, within, above and through all at once. Feeling the ease that comes with surrender to the waves and learning to work within the undulations to find fuel through breath.
Life as a runner brings miles of impact, brief engagement with the ground, propelling across the surface, leaving one place behind for another. As a swimmer, the surface shock gives way to a cradling, ever present in the water, at once moving through and partnered with the greater body.
The power of the silence to drown out all sound beyond my thoughts. A space free of distraction to process, ponder, postulate. Memories refracted as the light through the waves, presenting in new ways, offering new perspective.
As often as I am able, I make my way to the bay. To swim, to sit, to think, to talk, to wonder, to know. In solitude, for socialization. Shifting seamlessly from office to playground to chapel to gym.
Watching new feathered friends find their way on the surface and in the sky, sharing the feeling of home in the cool, clear waters and the margin of shore. Brilliant colors taking turns across the hours. Blinding sheens in the morning light, infinite blues glimmering with the midday sun, glorious pinks and purples emerging as the sun retreats.
Water bearer. Triathlete. Pseudo-swimmer. Lover of the lake. Fresh coast fanatic. All are me; I am all. I am drawn. I answer the call. I stare and stand, sit and swim. I am one with the water. I am carried by the Tide. I am grounded by the shore and inspired by the horizon.
May we listen for the call and hear ourselves in the powerful silences that surround us.