Any day now we will resume our quest, but in the meantime, let’s talk about swimming! I’ve been a swimmer for most of my life. I don’t get to do nearly enough of it (strange, considering that I live on an island), but I love being in the water. Until Karen and I get around to trying hang gliding (every year we say we’re going to take a lesson), swimming is the closest I come to flying. Walking around on land we go forward and backward, side to side. But in the water we also go up and down. That extra dimension makes all the difference—a momentary escape from gravity, however illusory.
Growing up near Cayuga Lake in upstate New York I had a lot of water around. The lake, being glacial in origin and very deep, didn’t really warm up for comfortable swimming until late July or early August, so the preferred place to bathe was the swimming hole. This was a natural pool just below a small waterfall on one of the many creeks that flowed into the lake. As a kid I had to get my mother to drive me down to the swimming hole, but eventually I was able to ride my bike down there.
I’ve swum in many places. Some of the nicest ocean swimming was in this piece of the Pacific, near Alimsog in the Philippines.
My favorite place to swim is this pond on my parent’s land upstate. They had it dug just a few years ago. If this pond had been there when I was still living at home I would have never left. Maybe they knew that, and that’s why they waited.
(photo by Marty Luster)
Now I’m trying to get my kids swimming. It’s been an uphill (upstream?) struggle. I taught them to ride bicycles, so I should be able to teach them to swim, right? But perhaps some things are best left to professionals. They’re away for five weeks, in a nice hot place with plenty of opportunity to swim. I urged them to practice swimming as if their lives depended on it (because they might).
They are getting much more comfortable in the water. Here they are two years ago with Karen, in the Caribbean just off of Cooper Island. They’re each giving a thumbs-up, but they’re not very enthusiastically indicating their approval.
Here they are this past April, snorkeling in St. John, USVI. They are much more confident, and they had a great time snorkeling, but they are still resistant to instruction (at least from me).
They should want to know how to swim, but maybe they’re at that age where if I want them to do something they automatically don’t want to do it. Hmmm… maybe I should try a little reverse psychology? Some day I’d like to be able to say, in the words of Loudon Wainwright III, “That’s my daughter in the water. Everything she knows, I taught her.”
For more on today’s swimming posts, please visit tugster.