Floating

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Now that it’s wet suit weather again, David and I spend a few minutes floating when we go to the pond to swim.  I’ve never been a good floater, my hips and feet sinking any time I’d try to lie back on top of the water.  In swimming lessons as a kid, once the teacher stopped holding up my middle from underneath I’d go down.  Trying again when I got older didn’t make any difference.

Except in a wet suit in the ocean, where the extra floatation and the salt keep me on the surface, face to the sky, arms and legs spread, slowly lifting and falling with waves. The ease of floating is part of what makes me love swimming in the ocean so much.

But really, I love any outdoor swimming, and somehow just recently David and I have discovered we can float in the pond too, as long as we’re wearing wet suits, which we are now that the water is cooling.  Could we always float this way?  We’re not sure.  We were both so sad-skinny when we first met and started swimming together in Long Pond, a small, quiet pond close to our house.  We probably would have sunk then if we’d tried, even in wet suits.

Now we both have more floatation around our middles and we’re coming out of a summer that’s left us relaxed enough to want to be home, to not be rushing off somewhere all the time, to take a few moments to stop, on our backs, in the middle of the pond, and float. Today the sky was cloudless.  Yesterday there were light cirrus clouds.  With my ears in a swim cap, lapped by water, I don’t hear much.  My heart beats, I hover, I look up.

In describing our personalities Eric used to say he was a floater and I was a swimmer. He could move from task to task without a clear sense of where he’d end up.  Not me.  I organized tasks in a sequence so I got things done.  He did things.

David’s a swimmer like me, and I’m still getting focused on getting things done a good part of every day, but I’m also floating.  At least for a few minutes.

 

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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