You know those dreams when you’re trying to get somewhere, do something, but your legs are too heavy, and you can’t make a move?
The waitress dream is table after table of new customers, and you’re trying to get to your tables to pour water and take orders, but you can’t, while orders nobody placed are piling up in the kitchen. The student dream is tomorrow’s exam, but you haven’t been to class all semester.
I have many versions of this dream, but the weirdest latest one: I have to swim uphill to get to my family. They’re up there, on an island atop this mountain of ocean. And I should be able to reach them, but I’m swimming so slowly and getting so tired. I never make it. I just wake up tired.
So returning to swimming at the pool has been a wee bit worrisome for me. I imagined that I’ve grown so out of shape I would just be recreating that nightmare, that the far side of the pool would be too far out of reach for me.
But I also knew that with inflamed joints I really have no other options. I had to get into that pool, face down the dream, start somewhere.
So I rejoined the little club, and programmed all the open lap times into my calendar, packed my gym bag, even finding all my pool gear, my various goggles and swim fins and lap counter.
I sat on the edge of the pool and went through my goggle bag. The elastic on every pair but one had rotted out. My battery-operated lap counter, of course, was dead. So were all of my swim caps. It’s been awhile since I swam, okay?
I grabbed a kickboard and held on for dear life, just sure I’d never make a lap without it.
But here is the happy surprise. Not only could I do it, but I completed many laps with barely a rest in between. And not just any laps, but one or two of them with a decent semblance of form. I chucked the kickboard pretty quickly, and smiled inwardly, and just swam and swam. The water stayed flat. No mountains anywhere. It behaved just the way I can rely on water to behave in the real and rational world.
That was a couple of weeks ago. I’m pretty chlorinated now. Friends returning from their southern treks are urging me into water aerobics classes too. And I’ll enjoy those for the girliness of it, but there is nothing quite like laps. I may be more of a manatee than a seal, but we’re all graceful in the water. Blue grace. Blue, quiet grace.
Sorry for not checking in sooner, gang. I’ve been a bit plowed under. I expect I will be now and then. Get this: I’ve tested positive for Lyme Disease. I’m quite surprised about it, but it certainly explains the past couple of years. Started on an antibiotic, and I think it may already be helping.
So, here’s to stepping right past your fears and anxieties and just starting again. It feels so good.