Leeches, seaweed and loons

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Swimming hole season fast approaches. (Laura has already been in for the year's first dip!) We swimmers have some amazing near-Toronto road trips planned this summer (like this one!) and these days I'm constantly scanning maps for nearby blue.

Swimming in lakes/rivers/quarries is one of my very favourite things to do, and I always forget until I am mid-swim how many things terrify me about swimming in bodies of water that aren't pools.

It began with the shark-shaped driftwood under the floating dock at my grandparent's cottage.

And then my dad told me that pickerel have teeth. (Of course, I imagined piranhas and a National Geographic photograph of a cow's thigh bones picked clean).

I am still afraid of pickerel, all fish, really. And I have to not think about them when I swim, singing this song to myself instead.

And seaweed, because what if it tangles around my feet and holds me under the water.

And leeches. (Shudder!)

And loons. I love loons, their song, their speckled backs, their solid, not hollow bones, their calm, but after they slip under the surface, who knows where they go, with their razor-sharp beaks and red eyes.

And bears. Crazy, I know, but there was a cottage, once, and I had a hunch there'd be a bear on the far side of the lake. It made my daily swims terrifying and fast (and apparently, there were bears spotted exactly where I imagined them!!)

But the murky greenish-blue that filters the light in diagonal beams, the sun-warmed surface and the floating in the middle of a lake, staring at the sky, trump all of the things I'm scared of.

I am off to find a swimming hole or two this weekend, leeches and seaweed be damned...

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