Friday, December 11, 2015

just keep swimming


About halfway through my first year of graduate school, I started swimming at the pool on campus. I can't even remember why it occurred to me, but it was a great decision. Historically, I've had a wishy washy relationship with swimming. Being in the water is great, but the before and after are so harsh. I also used to consider swimming something to do when I can't run because of an injury. Swimming instead of running is like eating baked lays when you want smothered nachos. Same food group, but oh so unsatisfying. OR so I thought. I now view it as a meditative experience because it's not a replacement for something that involves sweating and outdoor scenery. It's become a separate entity in which I get to observe so many little oddities while feeling the freedom of weightlessness and maybe burning a few calories, although that's debatable because I do not swim with vigor. I'm too busy watching the bubbles cast by other people's movements or zoning out to the black line on the bottom of the lane or tuning into the way I can feel the water wrap around my feet as I kick. It helps that the Brooklyn College pool has a wide bank of windows that lets in natural light and incredibly high ceilings. When I walk through the door from the lockerroom to the deck, I can feel the expansiveness of the room. Sometimes I can't settle in and my mind races through whatever challenge I'm having that day, but for the most part, those 25-30 minutes are spent criss-crossing between the present and a state of contemplative ease. And now in short form:

languid strokes through cold
water as bubbles rise up
and my goggles leak

picture taken at a state park on a drive from MA to NY, 2010, cross-processed slide film, Canon Tlb (scanned from a contact sheet before I started scanning straight from the negatives) 

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