Heart, Mind, & Body

Night Swimming

I am starting to see a pattern: when I want to write something lovely, I think of an old memory. A glimpse of the past flashes through my mind, and I want to bring it back to life. I share it with you so you can feel it too, because that’s what it is more than anything- a remembered feeling, an overwhelming sensation that draws me in. And just like that- I’m ten again.

 

Night Swimming

Although this title probably brings to mind a country song with reckless teens stripping down in a creek, this memory transports me to a time of innocence.

I grew up on a lovely property out in the country in Georgia, where I rambled through the fields and woods barefoot like a little Indian. I’m immune to poison ivy, mosquitos don’t like me, and my skin stays chilly to the touch in 100 degree weather. I made the perfect farm girl.

We had a swimming pool surrounded by a latticed brick wall. I loved to perch up on top of the brick columns like a cat, which would dry me out in a flash after swimming. My brother Buddy made it his tradition to jump in on New Year’s Day each year. I didn’t do cold swimming, so I never participated. But for two thirds of the year, we were in the pool.

At ten years old, there was nothing more magical to me than night swimming. I donned my goggles and slipped into a sparkling new dimension. Light bounced around the pool in little rainbows. The colors shifted as the water moved, and I chased the rainbows around the bottom of the pool.

I could hold my breath for a long time, maybe two minutes, so I would stay at the bottom with my palms on the slick liner, trying to catch the fragmented light. I knew it wasn’t catchable, but it painted my hands and arms, and I became dancing water too.

Slowly I floated belly up towards the inky sky. I let out my breath as I broke the surface, and a giant bubble popped around my face. The summer air hardly felt different than the warm pool water, and I felt peaceful. Content. Relaxed. Laughter and music touched my ears.

I floated on my back with arms spread wide, gazing at the stars sprinkled across the sky. It was darker out in the country. I could see the Milky Way and several constellations. I took another breath and then sunk back into my wonderland.

No thoughts crossed my mind except one: I am a mermaid.

What strikes me about this memory, even more than the beauty and the warmth, is that I was so in the present moment. No worries tried to barge in, no thoughts of other events or words said, only water. Light. Stars. Sky. Mermaid.

Oh, how I love this memory. Isn’t the carefree spirit of a child a beautiful thing? This is my third memory shared. The first was A Strong Memory, which is my safe place when I have anxiety, and the second was Angel From Below.

Do you have a memory that calms you or transports you to a magical place?

2 thoughts on “Night Swimming”

  1. Hey Holly,

    My name is Chris and I am a therapist exploring the topic of mental health and community in the age of social media. I started a podcast and website to motivate me in my exploration.

    I just came across your website and enjoyed this piece a lot! I too look back on old memories when in need of some positivity. Anyway, I would very much like to feature this piece on my “MH Shorts” page on oldcoveroad.com. My goal is to create a space where people can share their thoughts and experiences and learn from each other. If you are interested in sharing, let me know and we can further discuss.

    -Chris

    Like

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