Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Open Water Swimming Adventure

We love swimming, and are very fond of the clean, clear blue of Grammy and PapPap’s chlorinated pool. It’s heated, too. But swimming in open water – the ocean or a lake – is a thrilling way to cool off and experience nature. Oldest Son and I had an opportunity to try a swimming workout in a state park lake – wow!  We’re talking boy-eating sea monsters and resurrected fish.* Open water swimming is an adventure for strong swimmers and the not-so-squeamish.  

*Some of the details of this report may or may not have been exaggerated by an imaginative 10 year old and his mother.

As we entered the cool green water, the floating lily pads politely parted to allow us to pass. Then slimy tentacles grabbed our ankles and wrists – What is happening? Can you see it? Is it going to eat us? As we struggled, the treacherous rope-like strands tightened and threatened to pull us under, but we broke free just in time. Don’t tell me those were just harmless plants that root in the bottom of the lake. It was definitely a sea monster.

Putting my face down into that dark water and opening my goggled eyes took a serious act of will power for me.  I like to see the bottom of where I'm swimming. And if I can’t see the bottom, I’m more comfortable not knowing what's down there. But I was with my kid, so I couldn’t freak out. Plus, there were dozens of other people -- accomplished competitors as well as casual swimmers, teenagers and younger children -- all digging in.

I forced myself to focus on the beauty of the blue sky above and lush greenness all around. Talk about being, literally, in nature: smelling it, moving with it, touching it, and even kind of tasting it. There were fish right beside me and birds above, and I was okay with it.  Aren’t we humans odd, I thought, to pump water into giant concrete holes and sanitize it with chemicals to create what nature does on its own with springs and rain storms? I started to wonder why I didn’t swim this way all the time.

Then I saw a dead fish floating belly up. I tried to pick it up by its tail and toss it before the kids saw it, but it went under and disappeared. Was that a fish? What was wrong with it, my son and his friends asked. Was it dead? Nope, not dead, just resting, I said. R-i-i-i-ght.

My Big Guy didn’t love this outing. He was much happier back on shore rolling around the inflatable buoys. But I'm proud of him for trying. He’s just starting out with competitive swimming, and facing a large body of water was daunting even for me. We’ll try it again when he’s ready. And when I’ve forgotten about the fish.

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