The Dolphin Man

Monday, January 11, 2016



Today I met a Dolphin Man.

I went to the pool at lunch time for lane swim. I was a bit out of sorts... I worked late last night so I was tired, David Bowie died so I was bummed, and it was one of those days where you realize with *surprise* (how do these things sneak up so?) that you probably should have scheduled in a bikini wax – so I was annoyed, but grateful for the low cut legs on my Sportsy Suit.

When I first got in the pool, I noticed this guy wearing an unusual navy blue swim suit that looked like my summer yoga pants. And a fun swim cap. It was light blue and it had a pattern of either tropical flowers on it, or Snoopy. Can't remember. But I was jealous that his swim cap was fun.

He was polite and let me in the queue in front of him so I could get started.

Somewhere along the way I ended up behind him again. And by then, because of the grump factor noted above and the old lady who kept butting in the line, I almost missed what was going on.

Dolphin Man would disappear under the water – like a submarine submerging – push off against the wall, slowly, and trace the bottom of the pool with this beautiful little kick, arms back by his sides.

He swam the entire length of the pool, and never came up for air until he reached the other end.

I watched him do this a few times, mesmerized, until finally I broke standard no-talking-at-the-pool protocol and blurted out, "Did you just do that whole thing on one breath??"

And he answered, graciously, as Dolphins do.

I finished the rest of my swim behind him, studying his unhurried, graceful pattern through the water. It made me slow down too... I was more careful about my stroke, my breath, more appreciative of the colour underwater. Of the quiet.

I was really affected by the whole thing, and maybe here's why. This whole last year, I have been reflecting a lot on dreams and goals and getting yourself to where you want to be. I have been observing and hanging out with people who I think are good at this kind of thing, hoping to uncover some of the secrets of their success.

And I've realized that all these people I know, who I admire, who live their dreams and seem to accomplish so much – well, it takes a while. It's not overnight, and they work at it constantly. 

Maybe this is why Dolphin Man's response about his one, big deep breath struck me today, the way it did.

"It took me two years of practicing before I could do it."

And then finally, Dolphin Man cut a diagonal line under the other lanes, under all the other swimmers, and was gone.

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