I love the olympics. I know there is a lot to be cynical about, but really, I just love it when groups of people from all over the world can get together and do something without becoming violent. It has been such a rare thing in our history. Each person involved is an inspiration to me. Thus I’ve been swimming with my husband this summer. We go every weekday and do laps over the lunch hour. We take a little dip in the hot tub mid session. My husband has recent Swedish ancestors, which I blame for his love of jumping from hot to cold to hot to cold. I’m a little less enthusiastic, but it is refreshing.
I was planning on training for a second triathlon at the end of this summer. I was scared stiff of swimming in open water, (my first tri was in a pool) but energized by the thought of working my way through that fear. Then I pushed running a little too hard and my right knee told me to back off. I let that turn into an excuse for not facing the open water. But the better part of me has not given up and says ‘next summer’. This part of me remembers life is short. I only have a few moments left to experience the thrill of racing through open water, the power of snapping my shoes into my bike and really committing to pushing myself full out - leaving behind the fear of falling. Not the fears and thrills of an olympian, but this is what I can touch.
My husband jumps out of the hot tub and back into the icy pool. I linger in the warmth and sink down, eye level with the surface. Tiny drops of water jump up in the air as thousands of bubbles break, each drop describing a perfect parabolic arc. I could calculate them all, if my brain was faster. But the droplets don’t calculate, they just burst up into the air and fall back along the prefect curves of space. Equations are just a way to write about what happens, like words. The experience of a parabola though, that is the thing itself. I sit in the hot tub feeling ancient and slow. But the better part of me moves my body out to dive into the cold water and swim.