Summer throngs swimmers to the pond. The parking lot fills. The road way in waits in patient lines. Perhaps inpatient for those caught unaware.
This is a ritual I know well.
I learn to “call ahead.”
“Parking at capacity. The pond reopens at 1.30pm.” The sign, the park wardens, the state police say. No one may enter, even on foot.
Nature needs her rest. A small lesson in conservation.
The spring silence, the quiet water vanished in sprays of sunlight. Almost overnight.
Fold up chairs, flip flops, coolers, the ooze of sunscreen dripping out of disused tubes, clogged squirter bottles hastily tossed in picnic hampers along with sandwich roll and cake. Saturday thrown in a canvas bag.
I grab my goggles, cap and towel. No wetsuit. The soaring sun has set the water’s roaring cold instead a pleasant cool. My head yearns for the quiet of it to quell the pang of overheating. The unaccustomed rage of sudden summer.
I plunge. Tingle amongst the stench of pollen collected on the surface, like dust to tempt my nose, my eyes. Glide past the noisy summer makers to my strength. Spring swimming is the trail I leave behind.
The trail I leave behind.
As summer ripens I will fly into dreamtime falling.
Our family, disjoint by divorce. Pieced together by daughter cancer. A long awaited visit squeezed into the zip of summer. Or winter by my birthright.
Homeland in the season of the short pale light.
So I swim into the pond center with a fever of forgetting all the have to’s and the must do’s and the clock face screaming time I haven’t got to dwell. Searching for that place to hide. And when I find it, responsibility turns my stroke and kick feet back and takes me again to shore.