It happens on my return across the pond. My arms take on a mind of their own. A rhythm I cannot intrude upon. They become a second pair of lungs. Repetitive. Involuntary. Breathing life into each stroke as they move above my body, right, then left, then right again. I turn toward one, exhaling into the tips of trees, the sky. I turn to the other, watching it reach above the tips of trees. There is no slowing, no shifting of the rhythm. I am not in control of my body moving through water.
I do not look ahead, though I periodically wonder if there is any other swimmer I ought to be watching for. This is the beauty of swimming into the fall. Many leave, resuming their pool practice. It becomes meditation. The cooling water shifts my consciousness into a different space. Mesmerizing.
When I finally reach the shore I kneel neck deep in water, stunned by the sudden stillness. My eyes become moist. Tears. I remove my goggles and look back on where I have been. It is a profound experience; this rhythm I have been swallowed up by, this hypnosis, this trance.
The reason I keep coming back, even as the clouds devour the sun and the air devours the warmth.