Wednesday, May 30, 2007
A swimming pool is a fishbowl for the soul. It is a place to be
buoyant, a place for the sun to sprinkle itself into rectangular blue.
It is a place where wet dreams spin down a towel-dried spine.
Maybe some of the magic and charm of toiling in a pool comes from primal memories when I spun in amniotic fluid, dark and warm, with outside sounds muffled and crushed. Maybe a swimming pool is a place where the inklings of life blink back at us, through the stars, the silver stairs of light, where bodies are suspended, and I suspend my own, in a rectangular bubble bursting with light.
A swimming pool, in its most basic sense, is merely a rectangle of water for people to put themselves in.
There is ecstacy in that, and also, despite all this delight,loneliness. The loneliness of the long distance swimmer comes from isolation, from being in a sterile white world for long periods of time. It comes from being alone with oneself, in water. But this is not without warmth, or the glittering light of reflection. Sometimes the images shiver, dripping icy from their source. More often they spring buoyant and bright from the dancing rainbows that flow and radiate their chlorine dreams across the bleached chessboard backdrop that is the swimming
I saw my own reflections in the dark black bar running the polar white length of our lanes. I saw myself drifting in the night, I descended down, until the water pressed tightly against my ears, and saw my dark eyes shining in the dark, the tips of my hair catching the light and drawing it towards the dark black bar. I'd watch these silhouettes of light play off the the small waves that snaked around my body as I
crawled powerfully from one end of the pool to the other.
Sometimes I'd swim underwater and turn upside down and see the surface turn into a mirror, so that I was flying and below myself.
Reflections set off introspection. And a curosity in the swimmers stroking the water beside me.