November 12 ………How Can that be the last swim of the season?
Perhaps because I knew vaguely what to expect, the cold smashing into my face as my feet pushed off the sand and my body slid forward into the water, the sudden shock to the palms, the gradual icy trickle as water sneaked under my wetsuit, down my back…perhaps because after yesterday and Saturday, it was no longer so unexpected, my mind went without thought to my mantra. Om Sri Durgaya Namah. (I bow to the greatness of Durga the universal mother.) But the beauty of the sun-white-on-blue, the expanse above of blue-streaked-white, the stole of brown-green cloaking the pond, it was hard to pull my mind back to the words.
The rhythm came easy today. The easy roll of the hips as one arm reaches forward, stretching to touch a divine presence that lingers just out of reach, calling me on. The other arm reaches, guided by the hip, turning and twisting. The rhythmic 1-2-3 kick of the left-right-left.
If I shut my eyes I am water. I am the bobbing and tossing of the place where water molecules meet air. I am weightless, suspended on the watery earth, inside the surface of the world. My breath is the heart beat of the earth.
Walden pond is 110 feet deep at the place where the surface of the earth reaches furtherest away from its atmosphere. Its bulbous womb, filled with the fluid which sustains us all, rocks and cradles my shiny black body. If I shut my eyes I am in that place where life begins. Where it is infinitely safe and warm.
For a moment.
Swimming in 50 degrees feels different for more than the reason of the cold that seeps into me. My mind goes to places of discovery. The trick is to recognize what is discovery and what is the cold taking over. The fine line…
Like the fine line between the water and the sky.
I call this the ‘Universal Fine.’ A place I cannot yet reach.
To travel into that space, is to leave the physical body and explore the spirit.
Walden is more than just gliding and turning and breathing and exhaling. It is more than swimming. It is a spiritual practice. A meditation.