I was always a strong swimmer, despite not learning to swim until the age of 8 or so.
Mountain lakes, streams, ponds, the ocean and of course the pool.
Between the age of 12 and 16, essentially all through middle school and into high school I swam at the Y every day I was able. Four to five times a week I completed 50 laps in an Olympic pool. That was after warming up in the lap pool for almost an hour.

Rewind: 35 odd years ago
We had been at the Jersey shore early in the summer. I remember the gulls chasing us for getting too close to their nests in the dunes. Buggers, they drew blood and chased us off. I think I was 14 or 15.
Beautiful, hot day. Cold Atlantic water.
So we swam. Patti and I. I guess I was out pretty far. Saw the lifeguard motion me closer. I started back.
I don’t remember much more.
Being tumbled
Gulping air
I remember giving up.
Relaxing into the powerful undertow
Complete and total surrender
And then waking? On the edge of the beach…coughing
WOW. I can’t believe I’m alive
The rash hurt for days.

Until 2 months ago I had never re-entered the ocean
I haven’t been in a pool since I was in HS
Others taught my children to swim.

We had gone to Turtle Bay here on the North Shore
At chest high in the water as the swell lifted me off my feet and even with him standing at my side
Instant Panic
Take me BACK

Early this morning:

IT called to me
Soon I think I will be able to let IT envelope me
Wash over me

I stood for a bit and let the water slosh around my thighs
Alone with the rising sun

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