In The Weeds

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I have a fear of seaweed. It’s ridiculous and enduring.

The idea of stepping into water and sinking into a tangled mess of slimy and ropy weeds, is always on my mind when I approach a new swimming hole.

I was once thrown into a pond at a house party, on a back road somewhere in Grey County. I remember before I met my sopping wet fate, staring at a thick carpet of seaweed just below the pond’s surface, and shuddering… and the next thing I knew, I was falling back first, into that very cradle of watery green fingers. I was so terrified, I literally projected back out of the water like a possessed being, straight into my dads arms, frozen in the position I fell in, with a nose bleed… I kid you not!

But for one summer, I conquered my fear of weeds, all thanks to a wonderful friend, her front pond and some swim goggles. My dear friend Tarryn, had a pond in her front yard, that we spent pretty much every swimmable day in over the summer. It was almost the perfect pond… except for the seaweed, which was obviously a wee bit of a problem for me. Getting in and out without touching it— impossible! Finally, after what was probably an absurd scene of me flailing and thrashing about in the shallow end, Tarryn told me I had to get over my seaweed phobia, and suggested I put on some goggles, explore the bottom, and really see that there was nothing to fear. No creatures, no monsters, and no weird shark like bugs waiting to tear me to shreds.

And so I did it. I spent an afternoon, diving down and examining my sepia toned enemy and sure enough I discovered… it WAS beautiful! A secret world of submerged minty lace and flora, peacefully dancing between sunken sunbeams. I did see fish and bugs fluttering through the spongy universe— not my favorite part— but none had dinosaur teeth… so that was reassuring. And just like that for the rest of the summer, I didn’t care. I could walk in without goose bumps and crippling dread. It was amazing!

Sadly it did not last. My aversion has returned, probably because now I reside in the city where most of my daily swimming haunts are weed free pools and I’m no longer exposed to the grassy underwater world of yesteryear.

But thankfully, on the occasions when I do come face to face with a really tangled up ol' water hole, I need just a minute to remember Tarryn’s training, and that beyond my trembling imagination, there is also a beautiful world waiting for me, deep down at the bottom.

Unless of course there are sea creatures with dinosaur teeth… then I’m definitely not going in.

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