Learning to Swim

I have been trying to remember the last time I went swimming.

Last night I dreamt that I was teaching my youngest to swim. In my waking memories he is so small, so thin. He didn’t have enough body fat to make it a matter of learning to float first.

In my dream a river ran through our home. It’s time – I said – you need to learn now.

I believe dreams teach us what we find difficult to learn. And sometimes dreams teach without subtilty: as I recall he eventually taught himself to swim while I stood by helplessly. Or helpful-lessly.

And now all these years later, he teaches me about surviving when a flood takes one by surprise.

Is anyone else dreaming of Covid? Waking to the realization that their lungs are clear?

Two years ago I bought a wetsuit and was determined to face my fear of open water – with a barrier of neoprene between.

Two, three times we swam across the tiny lake. Two, three times I had flashbacks of the Kentucky river and the nest of baby moccasins. Slow down, I said: Breathe.

This is what panic feels like. And it is almost always irrational.


Swimming in dark water is a metaphor for life – and for death. You can never know what is near. What that bump or tug might be.

Slow down.



… And get back out there.

5 Replies to “Learning to Swim”

  1. yes. yes. many of your posts feel like water swimming to me. long time child loving water waves at the ocean shore. although, yes, kinda scary too, all that crashing surrounding my feet. yet it felt like home, like where I wanted to be. me here just home from hospital and a fur-real hole in my head surgery. felt that hole for months I think. look in mirror, no one looking back. how or what do I write? damn. your words bring me closer to home. lovely experience reading/swimming. think I am wiggling my way into new language. I am slow. the word inertia has more more meaning now. thanks for the water remembering/discovering.

    and yea, me think the answer to everything is “yes”. there is no such as no that exists. when we don’t see yes, we are not asking right, not yet. keep writing please. me keep reading you. yes.

    1. Such a great stream of consciousness! I am so happy you commented – makes my mind go to new places… because whatever has happened in your lovely brain it is still communicating lyrically – heading to your blog to find out what on earth you’ve had repaired.