Of the Blue Mind or a Forest Bather?
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
I have returned home to be near the lake. I don my swimsuit. I grab my towel and my book and head down to the dock.
Walking, swimming, canoeing, drinking, eating, sitting in silence or reading by the water is and always has been - my happy place.
Just looking across the lake and hearing the water lap and lick the shore fills me with a sense of pure belonging.
So many childhood memories come flooding back as I sit and peer out across the lake. Visions of sitting on the dock with my mom and dad. Mom on her matt soaking up the sun, or trying her hand at windsurfing, ski-doo or being stuck in the row boat and not able to get up, brings back a huge grin on my face.
I can see the ripples, hear them splash as they meet the pebbled shore. I can smell the fresh scent of the cool, crystal clear water.
Today, the wind is blowing and white caps are visible. The wind brings a slightly pungent fish smell wafting across the water. To the tourists, white caps means it is a "town day" to locals, it is a "dock day".
"Town days" means less boating activity, less noise, less shouting, less music, less motor sounds and less crowded water ways...which means a more peaceful "dock day" for me.
I connect with water. Water seems to know when I need to lose myself in it's sound and it's rapture of calm and rhythm. It even knows when my mood needs the more rough and windy moments.
My love of water is pervasive. It's in my genes. It's inexplicable.
When I was young, my parents signed all five of us kids up for swimming lessons. I remember it vividly. With Mrs. Kerr, by the docks, in my hometown. I literally took to it like a fish takes to water. (Funny how no one warned me of the leeches though.)
As I got stronger in the water, my front crawl matured and became as smooth and as rhythmic as a metronome. The more I swam, the more I loved it. My arms circling like a windmill ...one arm then the other...slicing through the water and barely leaving a trace as they rose out and dipped back in.
Eventually, my mom felt I was strong enough to join her daily swim to the buoy and back. It was a moment of sheer pride. A monumental coming of age moment for me, so to speak.
The buoy was situated about 50 meters from our dock but seemed like miles through the eyes of a child.
The buoy served as a warning to boaters that a shallow sandbar was below and stretched back toward the shore line. The locals knew of it's placement and it's purpose - the tourists, however, did not.
The tourists decked out on boats far too large for our little lake, would come through the narrows and speed up full-throttle until their propeller came to a grinding halt. Aggressive potty words would carry across the water and were heard by our young ears. They acted as though the sand bar just popped up to interrupt their outing alone - how dare it!
It is hard to explain my experiences with the water. The lake had a variety of moods and reactions throughout the changing seasons. It could be the most calming, or could become a rough and choppy presence.
Perhaps, as a teenager, I could relate to its moodiness. It was as though it could sense my mood and and instinctively know what I needed.
I take a break from my lounging and and dive into the water with a minimal splash.
My body instantly seems to relax, my muscles start to release and gravity gives way as I swim upward to the surface.
My brain rests as though the water given it permission to do so. The cool wet water on my skin felt as though the stress and the worry were being washed away and replaced with a sense of holiness and peace.
I finish treading water and start to swim.
My arms begin the familiar strokes of the front crawl. My legs join in with a light but steady flutter kick, mimicking the way my mother swam. As I get into my pattern of arm up, over, down, breath, up, over, down, breath...my mind calms, I think only of the water...unit I picture my mom as I swim to buoy and back...with out her...
Thank you Kim Duke - another wonderful memory inspired by your writing prompt.