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.
… And get back out there.