I try for three mornings a week — if the gods of sleep, weather and will-power oblige. The alarm intrudes into my delicious slumber, but I obey, clumsily dress, brush my teeth, and yawn as I drive downtown in the still-dark, to swim. We’re a motley crew gathered poolside, dipping our toes in the water before fully committing. A silver-haired professor (and world record backstroker), a professional harpist who’s conquered the English Channel, Susan’s husband — a lawyer of mighty wingspan, and a mish-mash of us middle-aged athletes hoping the laps will fend off physical demise.

For me these laps are spiritual exercise, too. A baptism with whiffs of chlorine. My body responds to the repetition, stroke by stroke, kick by kick, a mantra in limb and motion. My mind loosens as my muscles warm; my heart splashes and pumps, just as I too, splash and push forth.

I crave this elemental embrace — just skin, water, breath, motion. That’s all. Life stripped to basics. I guess there’s will, too. Or is it surrender? I’m not sure. Whatever it is, it buoys me and I am grateful, despite lost sleep.  I take a quick rest at the wall between sets, and swim some more. Back and forth, 50 meters, 100, going nowhere really, and everywhere.


~ by Stephanie on 02/09/2010.

3 Responses to “a.m.lap.swim”

  1. Yes, that one sentence about going nowhere and everywhere truly captures the perfection of swimming laps. It makes me want to begin again.

  2. I just followed a link in an email from you to this blog…I know little about this disease but I am moved by your writing and suspect it will be of great help to others. Strength and blessings to you both.

  3. Pebbles are good — move one for each lap — and you don’t have to count. Or maybe you don’t, anyway. Love, Harriet

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