Summer is for swimming. Here in NYC the season that the city pools are open is all too brief. I make the trek over to the Pitt St. pool at least 2-3 a times a week. Though it’s far from the tropics, it’s a bit of heaven.
Mon-Fri from 7-8:30 pm the pool is divided into 3 sections with lanes for lap swimming for adults only. The sections are for slow and beginners, medium fast and fast to pro swimmers. Though I am a competent swimmer and can easily swim the length of the olympic size pool with ease, I chose to swim in the slow section. The medium and fast sections seem to have a very serious feel to them…no monkey business allowed. I admit, I’m a monkey biz kind of swimmer. Oh, I take my laps very seriously, but I love to hang around the pool wall floating and twisting and gazing up at the dusky sky. This isn’t done by “serious” swimmers. So I must contend myself with dealing with the phobics and slow pokes. Sometimes I have to laugh because many of them are quite humorous.
There’s one guy who looks quite athletic but I don’t think he knows how to swim. Instead, he speed walks the length of the pool. Sometimes he even walks backwards. He’s walked into me on occasion. I’m good natured and enjoy the humor of it.
There’s a lovely Chinese couple who’ve been coming recently. My guess is that they are in their late 30’s or early 40’s. They make a handsome team with their smooth, porcelain complexions. They seem in love. The man hovers over the woman while she paddles with a kickboard. Sometimes he carries her and he touches her tenderly while she paddles. It almost feels as if I’m in the middle of a beautiful Chinese art film…or a backstreet bathhouse.
There are so many little stories and dramas unfolding all around the pool. Once a pretty, young African American woman was hanging near the wall watching me swim. She wasn’t dressed for laps, but rather for an elegant beach party with a black and white check bikini trimmed in patent leather. She even had huge white sunglasses on, not very practical for lap swimming. As I passed her, she practically stuck her face into my mouth because she was really trying to figure out how I breath while swimming. It was the first time I smiled at someone and took in air at the same time. Not easy!
When I finally stop observing the people and concentrate on the laps, I enter another world. I am a fish, a pelican and a mermaid all in one. I am one with the water. It is the great womb that supports me. And most of us there are united in this love of moving through water. Another miracle.