Monday, 29 September 2014

All at sea

It has been a strange few weeks.  

This week, I was struck by the contrasts I have experienced of late.

Autumn presents a choice for this swimmer.  To swim outdoors, or to retreat indoors?


I have preferred to swim indoors recently.  And it's not, I think, because of the relatively cooler temperatures.  

It is the sense of safety that the indoor pool offers me.  The known.  The familiar.  The lane ropes are comforting rather than confining.  I can choose my course and stick to it without difficulty.  Right now, great satisfaction is mine in the pool. 

The water warm.  Sometimes a little too warm.  The lengths add up, and I swim for several kilometres.  I explore the line between effort and ease, and quickly find my way into the latter.  

Elsewhere, I have found myself entering alien environments.  I have visited the hospital ward on which my mother has lain with hideous trepidation.  
I have looked around to find her lying amidst a bay of eight elderly women.  She looks older than I remember.  She is frail.  She is confused.

I forget why it is that I came.  It matters not.  I am here.  I sit awhile.  I remain as long as I can bear.  Which isn't long enough.  

I feel hopeless, and helpless.  It feels airless.  I cannot breathe.  I long to be back in the pool.  I feel so much more at home in the water. 


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