Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17: First Swim

This afternoon I attended my 25th high school reunion (Camden-Rockport High School, Class of '85!) at rustic Beaver Lodge on the shores of Alford Lake in Hope. On this hot summer day, the venue encouraged swimming. Fortunately several of us were armed and ready with bathing suits. We always were a fun-loving bunch.

You would think that given how hot the summer has been that I'd have been swimming many times by now, but I'm not a big swimmer. I'm kind of squirrelly about getting water in my ears, and I'm not a strong swimmer, strictly breast stroke. But peer pressure usually works well on me, and when a group of my former classmates decided to hike down to the beach, I put on my suit and joined them.

Even then I might have been content to simply stand in the water for a while to cool off. My friends Shannon, who competes in master swimming races and triathlons, and Sarah, who was on our high school swim team, headed across the lake with strong speedy strokes. I slowly waded in up to my waist, that crucial point at which you pretty much have to fully immerse, and then gave myself over to the lake's embrace.

The water was comfortable and clear, no pond weeds dragging at my ankles or submerged rocks to worry about. I picked a buoy not far away as my goal and headed for it with my slow and steady breast stroke. And then I treaded water for awhile, to take in the landscape. I had been so distracted with the busy-ness of the roped off little beach with children splashing around my legs that I hadn't paid attention to the vista visible from the lake shore. Across the lake on one side rose Hatchet Mountain, and on the other, the distinct, lumpy ridgeline of Ragged Mountain. The hills wore their hazy green shawls of mid-July, and the opposite shore of the lake below them wasn't marred by too many camps or docks. My heart lifted at the sight. Ah, to be alive on such a summer day in the company of fun and decent people I grew up with, living a good life that I never could have imagined 25 years ago in a place of great beauty--my home.

Jump into the lake,
into mountains reflected--
reflecting on home.

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