Recently, I went swimming on my own – i.e. without a high maintenance toddler in tow – for the first time in ages, and I really enjoyed the quality alone time this gave me. I had forgotten what a great exercise in mindfulness swimming can be. So, when I got home I decided to write a small stone* about it:
Sitting at the edge of the pool, I look down on glass clear water, with dark blue lines drawn on the floor. The small of chlorine fills my lungs and I dip a tentative toe in. The water is ice cold and my toenails need cutting.
Slowly, I immerse myself and immediately lean forward and, the water lifting me up, reach my arms out in front of me, fingertips meeting in the middle. A school lesson is just finishing and there are two teenage girls at the deep end of the pool, chatting. They repeatedly use a rude word out of context and fall about laughing.The one with the blue swimsuit on appears to be teaching her giggly friend how to swim.
I glance at the clock, only five minutes have passed. As I change stroke, an older man, his chest carpeted with grey and decorated with a small silver chain, arrives. He is prepared for the cold and dives straight in. Eventually we meet at one end and he nods for me to carry on. He breathes heavily and stretches out his arms.
After 30 minutes I stop to stretch and the girls are doing the same. They giggle over the handsome lifeguard. He seems to be oblivious. He has one shaved eyebrow and wears a gold watch.
The warm shower rinses out all traces of chlorine but the smell lingers in my nose. Outside, the cold wind bites my face.