Thursday, 4 August 2011

And don't forget your towel

Picture this:

Early in the morning. It's quiet, you're alone. The lake in the middle of the forest is like a mirror, no breeze disturbing its surface. The cool water embraces you as you lower yourself in. You swim effortlessly, like you were born to do just that. When you get out of the water, the sun has climbed a little higher in the sky and is now warming your shoulders pleasantly.

That's not what happened this morning. This is what happened this morning:

I cycled up to the lake just after 9. Left my bike by the parking lot and jogged to the beach in my sandals (more about that later). Got to the beach only to see 20 free divers getting ready to jump in. I tried to ignore them and walked down the jetty. A breeze made the air a bit chilly. That didn't stop me. I climbed down the ladder and into the water, which was just warm enough, and started swimming. Any comparison to a dolphin or other elegant sea animal would be terribly misplaced here. I was more like a fish out of water. I couldn't get my breathing right. My arms felt tired. And I kept wondering what unspeakable horrors might lie beneath the surface. If Loch Ness has a monster, why not my lake?

I survived long enough to see a horde of families arrive to let their children loose upon the beach. The lake was quickly filling up with various floating devices and colourfully dressed kids. I decided that my short swimming stint had run its course and that it was time for me to go home. Effective swimming time maybe 15 minutes. Move over Therese Alshammar.

So, about the sandals. Not exactly running gear, but walking the one kilometre from the parking lot to the beach seemed like the most boring thing in the world, so I ran. After having climbed a short but steep hill, I ran past a couple of women jogging leisurely. I was immediately showered with abuse. ”No way! Running past us in sandals!” and ”Go home! I don't want to see you!” and ”Next time I'll wear my high heels and run past you, see how you like that!” All good natured comments, of course. I think. Maybe. Well, I laughed. They sounded furious.

All in all, swimming was a good idea. Poorly executed maybe; next time I want to go swimming, I'll do it even earlier in the morning.

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