Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Swimming Deep

I've spent my life swimming. Most of it in Torch Lake, a northern Michigan lake fabled to be one of the three most beautiful lakes in the world.

Its clear turquoise water and golden sandy bottom spoiled me for other lakes. Yes, I have swum in others, but I never felt clean afterwards.

The lake starts out teeth-chattering cold in early summer. By mid-July the water is tolerable enough for grandmothers to venture in, skinny boys to play for awhile, and for me to stay and float.

On warm evenings I'll sneak out to the dock after everyone is asleep, slip out of my clothes and into the bracing water. Looking up at the stars, I float and send my mind out to travel among them.

Some days the family piles in the boat and goes out deep water swimming. We love the freedom we feel swimming a mile from shore in 200+ feet of water. Perhaps it's the thrill of it, for many guests feel uninterested in trying, or perhaps it's the deep connection to the infinite we share that makes us feel as tight as we ever are when we jump off the boat together.

Suspended under the blue sky I dive, swim down into the cold with eyes open, watching the water deepen in color as I descend. Then turning to the rays of the sun, I  rise until the blue-green surface of the lake is a mirror I break through to breathe again. Human.