The sun bakes the brown skin on my back. I peer through a knot hole at the water below. The warmth feels good but I’m not here for the sun. I’m here for the water.

I place my palms down on the gnarled wooden surface of the dock and hoist myself to my feet. I quickly look around to assess the situation: Who can I impress? Who should I avoid? Who might I frighten with a sneak attack?

I face the shore and stand on the edge of the dock plank, balancing on the balls of my feet. Hands at my sides I take a deep breath and fling myself into the space beyond the dock.

The water is barely six feet deep so the dive must be shallow. Shallow dives don’t allow for much finesse but as I jump, I sweep my arms outward until they meet above my head just before I hit the water. I feel graceful and superheroic never considering that I may look less so.

The water is cool and murky green. My older siblings won’t swim here and some friends level charges of “runoff” and “swimmer’s ear” but I never believe them. This is my habitat.

With eyes wide open I immediately glide to the sandy bottom. I take massive strokes with my arms, inverting the motion I used in the air moments before. My hands pass in front of my face each time I reposition my arms for a new stroke. I feel all the power and grace my non-athletic body will ever manage. I know I am a better swimmer than my peers and that is a great comfort.

I swim silently, slightly above the sand, with no other thoughts in my head but suppressing my desire for air. Eventually that desire will overpower me but I know I’m one step ahead of my future self. When at last I can take no more, I will begin the ascent to the surface, forced to continue swimming by virtue of my position at the bottom. This, I know, will give me an advantage in future underwater swimming contests, should they ever arise.

But none of that is necessary for this dive because the shore arrives before my air supply dwindles. I take one final stroke and glide into the shallow water where it is no longer possible to hide my awkward body from the world. When I can go no further, I raise my head above the surface, taking care not to stir the water unnecessarily or to make any gasping noises with my first breath.

I linger briefly in the shallow water, feeling my body float effortlessly while my belly rubs slightly against the sand. I revel in the moment. I know I belong here. I long for the rest of my life to be this effortless.

Dedicated to Mary Lou, 2016.08.21

Vital Statistics

Hours of sleep last night: 8
Hours billed last week: 0
Cobs of corn eaten: 12 (approximate)
Aches & pains: none
Current reading:: Metal Cowboy by Joe Kurmaskie
Recent weather: hot, cold, wet, dry (no lightning or thunder)
Recently accomplished: picked and shucked corn, skeet shooting, swimming at Lake Hendricks, water park supervision, visited with various relatives, camping, shopping at Cabella’s
Upcoming To Do: return rental car, shopping at Mall of America, airplane to Portland, drive home from Seattle

Fifteen Percent Concentrated Power of Will

Recent happenings:

  • After a little drama with the van (seeping coolant), we got it back from the mechanic a couple of weeks ago and it’s running like a champ again.
  • Last night Thomas crossed over into Boy Scouts.
  • Thomas recently passed his swimming lesson class.
  • Graham played the last basketball game of his season on Saturday.
  • Graham has been having continual problems controlling himself at basketball practice, in games, at home and at school. He received several referrals one week from school, so we took away almost everything he loves (Wii, DS, computer). He needs to learn to stop and think before doing things. He’s back on the right track, though, and expects to get his keyboard back for his computer this week.
  • Nietzsche has recovered from his enema, but is very upset at not getting table scraps anymore. Very upset.
  • If you’ve been tracking Vital Statistics here, you’ve noticed we haven’t caught any mice for weeks. I think they are all gone.
  • Thomas and I spent this last weekend at a Boy Scout lodge up on Mt. Hood with Troop 606. It was fun and I may write more about it later.
  • I’m transitioning from one project to another right now at work so it’s a little hectic. Hopefully, I can give you more details about the new project soon.
  • Tina is finishing up another term at Mt. Hood Community College and will enjoy Spring Break with the boys at the end of this week.
  • Planning continues for a family reunion this summer. Looks like it might be the first week in August, but that’s only tentative.
  • Thomas has taken an interest in programming recently. He inquired about a game that a collegue wrote and I explained how programming works. I’m thinking of starting him on Logo. Any thoughts, readers?
  • My new front fender is awesome.
  • After the MP3 CDs went over so well at Christmas, I started a “Song of the Day” club in our house. The idea is that members (everyone in the house) get a new song added to their iTunes every day. Graham really seems to enjoy it and occasionally requests specific things. Some requests have been for Queen and “heavy metal.”

Can you tell I love unordered lists in HTML?