The water is delicious, a string of fine beads caressing my body and limbs. For many moments after I fall into its arms I am paralyzed to anything but the sense of it against my skin.
I look up at the deep blue sky and its soft cotton clouds. Over the course of my swim I will watch them drift across the vast dome which stretches from beyond the trees on one side to beyond the trees on the other; beyond the pond, beyond all that I cannot see. I have never before noticed how far away the sky is. Not in winter when it hangs grey weight upon me, not last summer when I strained out of a hospital window even to see if it was blue, not even in the fall when I raced to the pond to gaze up at it from its midst, knowing that Jesi’s spirit had been released into it. That finally her suffering was over.
Suddenly I am struck by my own insignificance, a tiny particle of matter bobbing up and down on the small crests of blue water. A creature that, by the grace of some higher power I do not fully understand, is supported on a sea of bombarding molecules. I begin to wonder about it all: how we are all connected, tiny parts to the whole of the universe we inhabit, supporting… being supported by… but how, to be supported by these trillions of water molecules my physical body must be necessarily separate from them.
Yet I am also part of the vast universe surrounding me, encompassed under the enormous dome of sky.
A plane flies overhead, the gentle groan of its engine dwarfed by the groan of my breath. I imagine myself peering out of porthole windows down on the tiny particle of matter which is me. I think of what I might see if I was peering out at the sky from those porthole windows. I think of what I might look for that I don’t see.
What is there that I am not aware of…
Bubbles of breath fizzle in front of me, tickling my face as I glide through them. I yearn to be still, to quieten my body as it travels through space where sky meets sea, to find an entrance into the world that lies between these molecules. Years ago, I named the interface between these two worlds the “Universal Fine.” I wonder about it now, reaching each arm forward yet failing to find the portal.
I wonder what there is that I am not aware of?
There is so much that I do not understand and that Jesi’s passing from her physical body has rekindled in me a desire to know.
As I reach Thoreau Cove the water has quietened. I swim in gleaming green velvet blue. The sound of giggling children from the shallow water, the stones on the sandy bottom move slowly beneath me. I think of Jesi and her presence surrounds me. I remember crying through my own bubbles one day in late September, almost a year ago, while swimming in this same spot.
I blink back tears inside my goggles now and stumble over my breath before I let go, looking up into the clouds, into that vast dome which seems to stretch forever.