Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Last Frontier

Of course, once I sit down to write in my blog, I completely forget what it was that I wanted to write about.

I've been thinking about swimming lately, probably because it's been so hot. The weird thing is that I haven't really swam (swum?) in years, and I don't really remember how.

When I went off to college, I had to take a swim test along with all the incoming students. I had some misgivings, as the last time I'd gone swimming prior to that was maybe when I was 10 or so, when I took swim lessons one summer. I was never a strong swimmer, but I could do 25-50 meters if I pushed myself.

When it came to my turn, I tried to start off with the crawl. I have no idea what I did exactly. I made it to the other side of the tiny pool, but I seemed to have gotten there with a lot of splashing and flailing. Pretty embarrassing, as there were still several lines of people waiting to take the test. I couldn't seem to coordinate my breathing and the movement of my arms. I finished the required laps doing the back stroke but since then I haven't tried swimming again.

I find the water very mystical, for lack of a better word. I once described to a friend how, when I think about being out on the surface of the ocean, or in the middle of the deep sea, I feel agoraphobic. I typically never have that feeling in wide open spaces on land, but there's something that both terrifies and fascinates me about water.

On land, one can look up to forever. When it's really dark, one can still hear when something flies overhead. But life in the sunless depths of the ocean seems oppressive to me--all that liquid around you, this forceful presence limiting vision and distorting sound. (I once read that the bottom of the sea, as opposed to space, is the last frontier. We're still discovering life in places that we'd thought uninhabitable.)

So, I'm slightly scared of swimming. But sometimes, for lack of being able to fly, I dream of lithely curving through the water like a dolphin, free and quick and without bounds...

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