The cooling, September ocean played rough, pulling all swimmers northward. She invigorated me though.
Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, RI, has an interesting topography: the waves break unusually near to shore, and at about where they break, the sand drops down close to a foot. One minute you’re up to your thighs and the next you’re going to capsize, meaning you need to leap in or retreat. I jump off the sandy ledge and shriek, exhilarated, every time. Returning to land isn’t so easy though. You need to time your exit so that the incoming waves impel you forward fast enough that the undertow doesn’t drag you back or down, into a salty, sandy wipeout.
Relationships feel like this to me.
Yesterday I swam two times. First, I stood in the shallows, allowing the water’s rhythms to fuse with mine. Once situated, I drifted far from where I entered. Heading back, as a friend noted, felt like swimming in one of those fancy lap pools. I only made it halfway to my starting point before giving up, but then I got out with smooth grace. I asked Grandmother Ocean to help me, and she did! My presence, initiated by my early merge with the water, helped.
The second time I went in, a dark swirl distracted me. Checking it out, I discovered one of several traveling schools of herring, with occasional flips of silvery brilliance. Distracted, I lost my presence. So this time when I tried to leave for shore, the waves knocked me over. Twice. The only injury, fortunately, was a bathing suit full of sand.
Lesson learned. Relationships work best in the present moment.