Friday, January 09, 2015

Swimming Lessons

“People who have faith in life are like swimmers who entrust themselves to a rushing river. They neither abandon themselves to its current nor try to resist it. Rather, they adjust their every movement to the watercourse, use it with purpose and skill, and enjoy the adventure.” — David Steindl-Rast

Swimming lessons mean winter to me.  When I was young, living in a small town west of Chicago, we took lessons at the YMCA about 30 minutes away.  My mother would pack all five or six of us up in the car and head off to the Y, where we wound our way downstairs to the locker rooms, stuffed our mittens, scarves, hats, coats, and uniforms into lockers and magically turned into Guppies or Minnows or Sharks.  I can still remember how the snow piled up against the glass panels as February drifted into March, the humid air condensing in a misty veil.  Rumor had it the panels were opened in the summer, turning the indoor pool into an outdoor one with a few turns of a wheel.

I'm back taking lessons again, heading to our new Y twice a week for an in-the-water weight and aerobic training class.  The kids' classes are in the other half of the warm pool, and as I did grand battements on the side, I could hear them playing "red light/green light."  Fifty years ago, I was playing the same game in a warm pool while the winter winds howled.

I am in miserable shape.  My head knows how to move, but my joints creak in all new ways, my plantar fasciitis has returned with a vengeance, and my body won't alway do what my head says.  It's a strange feeling to feel so out of sorts in my own body, but on balance, I'm enjoying the adventure of getting my balance again.

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