After three days of migraine ravaging my brain, thunder shaking the skies and shards of lightning splintering the earth, I return to the pond.
But the habit of not swimming grinds me into complacency.
I become friends with it. Let it inside me. I put my swimsuit on, gather my towel, goggles and cap. I do not ignore it. I feel it, but continue the process of getting ready.
I’ve learnt to do this through years of understanding that exercise will release endorphins which will make it feel more attractive after I get out of the water, if not as I wade into it.
But this is different.
I worry my head will split like a cracked eggshell again. The pressure of the gasp in, held, and blown out through pursed lips, on the stuff inside my skull.
And while I think about it, the egg cracks anew. Sharp strikes not throbbing, but robbing me of my calm.
The water is flat. Jade green and blue, as I rotate my head from sea to sky to sea again. I marvel at the deep pools of dapple green, even as the lightning slices through my left temple.
Then I stop thinking about it, and listen instead to the breath as it blows through my brain. Blowing the throbbing slices away.
When I arrive back at the beach I am exhausted. But my head is clear. I am glad that I did not listen to the apathy. I am glad that I learnt not to listen to it. And as I gather my towel, wipe my face, the dripping from my hair ends and walk up the beach my cell phone rings.
The energy from inside my phone is a storm, angry waves, impatiently beating. But the rhythm of the water flat like jade is inside me. The storm does not reach me. The breath in, held and blown out has been printed in me, and imprints me with calm.