Posts Tagged ‘water’

Rise, Walk, Swim, Rinse, and Repeat

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

A typical morning sequence

Even though abnormally hot during the previous Santa Clarita day the cooler night air cascades through the open window and over me in my bed. In these predawn moments I anticipate the alarm; it will be unwelcome and abrupt.

Then, 4:50am – it blasts; I can tolerate one push on the snooze bar without being too late to my swim. I do it, one push.

Roll out of bed and stagger to the bathroom; wash, and brush. I am moving around, but barely awake. I have found that my early morning swimming is just an extended form of waking… even once swimming I will feel lost in a transitional state.

Even as the morning sky is lightening, yellow, pink to blue, to night overhead, the planets, Venus and Mars, still shine brightly, unwilling to yeild to the approaching sun, yet they will – inevitably, they do.

Socks and shoes on the porch, poised like firemen’s gear, ready to go, always. Two squirts of hand lotion to counteract the drying effect of the chlorine.

The walk begins towards the gate, and then out into the wilderness. As the gates swings shut behind me I scale the steep embankment to start my 2 mile hike through relatively untouched Califronia Coastal Range terrain. Still in Northern Los Angeles County, and yet I live next to wild country.

Up to the first prominence, the highest point in my trek. A pause to deeply breath in the morning air. I turn slowly and I can scan the entire horizon. Pockets of low lying fog fill in small portions of the valley. Otherwise the sky is clear, and as it will be for the entire day.

Rabbits scurry through the brush. I’ve seen rattlesnakes, and I’ve heard them – whenever that happens I am glad for the warning. Evidence of coyotes, but no sightings. They leave rabbit carcasses and scat; they roam, and stick to their pack. This is their land, theirs and the other wildlife, yet, I walk through it as if it is mine.

Time goes by fast as I approach the pool, invigorated by my pre-swim walking warm-up.

Then poolside… I adjust my goggles, secure my earplugs, and then launch. I dive, limbs fully extended and my body sleek, I pierce the surface of the water. Immersed, alive, several dolphin kicks before starting my stroke. I will work hard; perhaps several thousand meters in 90 minutes, and yet it is as if I am still asleep.

It won’t be until after I’ve hauled myself out the water and showered, and started the hike back home, that I can claim to be fully awake. I will do this all again tomorrow.

For me, this is being fully alive, yet knowing – this is transition. Between sleep and wakefulness, conscious and engaged, but as if in a dream.


What Happened to That Feeling?

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

There was a feeling I knew in a different time. I do not know what happened to it, or where it went. Surely a feeling abundant in my youth. No else has told me that they’ve had this specific feeling, it is possible that it was mine alone; I doubt it, but it is possible, I suppose.

It is the summer, hot, and humid – midday. The sprinkler runs, watering the lawn, billowing white clouds dot the still sunny sky. A suburban front yard, seemingly perched high on the top of a hill, but maybe that’s just how I remember, not how it actually was. Thick luxurious grass, bursting with chlorophyll, thirsty for its water, which rains down, in undulating sheets, as the sprinkler oscillates.

The day’s gentle breeze lifts a bough of mist, tossing it in the air, and just for a second, a rainbow. Ever so temporarily, shimmering saturated colors, those colors. Then just as quickly, it’s gone.

Not a care in the world, fully alive running at full speed, leaping though the water as it undulates, side to side, thin jets fanning out. The grass when whetted is slippery and forgiving. A skidding on the knees, that would tear and burn on dry grass, instead, yields easily, slick, causing no harm.

The person waters, the grass drinks, the children run about gleefully – taking in the day, enjoying, just being, alive. Shorts, no shirts, sunburn certain; it would be hard to fall asleep that night, for the hot, tightened red skin, but, not so, because of sheer exhaustion – sleep will come, and will be welcomed. Dreams of what wonders tomorrow will hold may fill the mind.

I don’t know what happened to that feeling. Is it gone forever? Can it be recovered, or is it the sole possession of the youth. They own it fully in their moment, when it is truly and rightfully theirs, however, not knowing, if it will last.

As sad as that may sound, I am buoyed, however briefly, with transient flashes of this distantly remembered feeling reoccurring now – sometimes. It has come, however temporarily, when I am immersed in some activity – maybe drawing, or while playing my guitar, sometimes when swimming a long distance, gliding through the water, as if for my life.

It’s there like a ghost, the feeling – my chest filled with some ephemeral incarnation of awe. Gone, though, as quickly as it came, like that temporary rainbow… but at least I know, it’s within reach, if only for a moment.

That sensation is the feeling of being alive… and it is worth living for.