A thousand different thoughts and feelings as the waves swipe me one after the other a million times over. Today, in just a bathing suit after only a week ago feeling the chill creep under my wetsuit I amazingly still manage to lie across the surface as if I am being held by some miracle. I thank God for the power and strength to do this as I winde myself more and more into the face of the wind pushing at me. I feel peculiar, like a rat on a water treadmill stroking with all my might, going no where. I modify my direction so I am swimming across the face of the waves and it is even more bizarre. Suddenly all the world seems to be pushing against me, forbidding my getting to the shore I have in my mind to swim toward. I pass another swimmer and watch him turn his head to watch me. I sense his curiosity at the sight of this lone body pushing and simultaneously being pulled.
Swimming in open water is such an explosive psychic experience.
Somehow I find a rhythm and my body falls into a synchronicity I do not own on land between the back ache and the neck pain and the tired feet. My arms take on a tempo of their own and my breath takes her cue from them. I relax into joy. This is the moment I long for and it lasts and lasts like laughter, the kind that leaves your sides aching though and through, and if I think too deeply, move one muscle out of its context, even raise an eyebrow higher than before realizing the distance from me to shore is still a long way off and I am tiring, it might vanish as quickly as it established itself. Now I feel like that miracle and again I thank God and any other being who watches over me, a tiny speck of insignificance in this mass of wonder and water tumbling over and over and I begin to believe I belong in the water: a dolphin perhaps…?
There is the silence of the sand, the dappled molds, each its own desert dune, extending from the stone steps and as I sweep my eyes along the beach, filling the emptiness of it; waiting.
There is the water, grey and pooled in patient puddles or licking at the curl in the shoreline, the slight line of froth it leaves behind, a child’s milk mustache.
There is the whispering voice of the wave on the sand; when…it chants, when. It waits also.
There is the sky. The blue has faded from the afternoon. It is late March, officially Spring, April a day or so away yet the pallor of the sky belies this. She gives no hint of what might come. She stretches over forest, over sand, over water, over the group of three young women who saunter across the sand on the other side of the pond, chatting happily. She resides over the two teenagers who, sneakers thrown haphazardly on the sand, jean legs rolled two or three inches above the ankles, gingerly tiptoe toward the water. I watch from a distance, leaning on the cold hard stone of the wall. The first retracts a toe almost immediately it touches the water. The head turns toward the friend who lingers behind. Perhaps words are exchanged. I am too far away to know. The toe once more approaches the water and this times the foot enters it. I watch the weight shift onto the leg and the body move forward. I watch the second foot just as tentatively enter the water, slowly, completely, the figure moving forward. I distract myself. How long? I wonder. How long?
This waiting. The sand that yearns for buckets and spades and towels and umbrellas. The water, for bodies to slice through it, skim its surface leaving trails of white foam. The sky which tries to spread blue light and beam the yellow warmth of the sun. When will it return?
April? May? June? …
This waiting. My sneakers tied tight, my socks, thick and warm. Wrapped in my winter coat and scarf. This waiting. …How long?