This seems the perfect poem to ruminate on as I’m headed out the door for a morning swim (especially that last stanza). There have been times in my life when swimming was the most important thing I could do–I’m thinking of the night after I learned that my father had terminal cancer. I swam 100 laps then, despite being 8 months pregnant. Swimming until I’d lost every ounce of strength left in me. Because I thought I could swim away the hurt and the reality of what was happening…
And one more thing: I’m looking for a local who’d like to do some ocean swimming with me. If you’re interested, drop me a line.
The Swimming Lesson
by Mary Oliver
Feeling the icy kick, the endless waves
Reaching around my life, I moved my arms
And coughed, and in the end saw land.
Somebody, I suppose,
Remembering the medieval maxim,
had tossed me in,
Had wanted me to learn to swim,
Not knowing that none of us, who ever came back
From that long lonely fall and frenzied rising,
Ever learned anything at all
About swimming, but only
How to put off, one by one,
Dreams and pity, love and grace,–
How to survive in any place.