Thursday, June 14, 2007

peace by way of water

I'm thinking maybe it has something to do with the fact that for a good solid fifteen years of my youth, into college, I was frequently in, or around water. As a kid, we'd vacation and Fourth of July (yup, I verbed that), in Maine. I'd spend sweltering, sunburned days by the beach, and love every second of it. Soon after, it was more pool oriented. Taking, and then teaching swim lessons at the local Y. I was in lifeguard training at fifteen years old (when me and Resusa-Andy became so tight). During, and after that time, it was daily swim practices and swim meets, and life guarding at the Swim and Tennis Club. Yup, the one where the unfortunate glass incident went down.

So for really as long as I can remember, water- be it the salty ocean, a chlorinated pool, or a bubble filled tub, has brought me comfort. A certain tough to put my finger on, type of peace.

Swimming for two hours every day, brought me a kind of escape. A time, although often spent with a team, was also in many ways so individual too. It was a time where time, life, actually stopped for me. Was kind of put on hold, while I would swim my worries and stress and whatever else away. It was two hours of freedom. Just to be in the water brought on a feeling of relaxation and ease.

So, not being a "swimmer" anymore, or a competitive one at least, I miss it. The water, and its effect on me. Sometimes, when I just need a break from life and daily stuff, heavier things and sometimes not, I take a drive to the nearest place with water that I can get to.

A year and a half ago when a boyfriend of the time sent me the song "Goodbye My Lover" while I was at work, and told me that my "thank you" to the flowers he sent me was bullshit, I escaped. Left work at lunch, drove to a park, and sat on a bench in front of the water and cried. Afterwards I felt better.

In Myrtle Beach a little bit ago, I left my group of friends to take a walk on the beach, alone, for an hour. I brought along my ipod and headed off in no direction really, with my feet in the sand and salty water, and just went. It was a time where I could just be. Afterwards I felt refreshed. Rejuvenated and at peace.

Today during my lunch hour, I came to the river where I'll be swimming for the triathlon in a month. I walked by the Boulevard, found a quiet spot under a tree, and sat next to four ducks, and wrote in my journal. Afterwards I felt more relaxed, more balanced.

And this weekend, I'll be taking a family trip, eight of us, to a beautiful scenic place by the sea. Between family breakfasts, Father's Day activities, cocktails (because there will be some of that), I plan to take some time on my own. Away, by the ocean. A chance to gain some clarity and balance, some perspective and direction on things. Because that's what I do. I know that when I get feeling anxious or nervous, flustered and off balance, what I really need is some quality time around or in water.
Or with my mom, which will also be a bonus this weekend.


egan said...

Holy water! I'm the first to comment on your blog? I must hit "Publish Your Comment" now before anyone else beats me. Then I will return with a super duper nifty comment. Gnome sane?

egan said...

Great post Brookem. As a fellow swimmer who also spent roughly 2 hours in a pool daily, I truly identify with this post. There's something so calming about swimming laps for me. It allows me to think about things in life and get in some nice refreshing exercise at the same time. I love the smell of chlorine as a result.

Any time I'm near water, I feel at home; at ease. It's a great thing. I see you also taught swimming lessons, so cool. Have a great time this weekend and make sure to enjoy that massage.

Beth said...

I am so with you. I took swimming for years and lifeguard training although I never had a job as a lifeguard. I was a liitle selfish, I guess. Lifeguards have to spend so much time out of the water, watching, and I wanted to be in the water all the time!

Have a great weekend! Have a cocktail for me!

ARM said...

I also identify with this post. I've never done competition swimming, but I have been swimming for as long as I can remember. And I was very lucky to have had my own pool at our house growing up (my older brothers were pissed because mom & dad got it once they moved out).

I feel comfortable in the water. More comfortable with myself, that is. Which is weird considering what one wears while swimming (tight, non-flattering lycra), but it's true. The peace and comfort water brings to me is amazing.

Maybe we were all dolphins or some marine-life in a past life or something.

I love this post, though. I love the way you write, I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Have a wonderful weekend with your family and with the water!!

radioactive girl said...

I agree. Swimming is always my thinking time. I used to think running was good for thinking, but then I started swimming and found it so peaceful. I love the smell of chlorine too, and thankfully my husband doesn't mind. I always feel like it smells so clean. I love the beach even more than the pool though. I think I will take my kids to the beach near our house soon. I know they would love it, and I just love how it smells and feels.

P.S. If you noticed that I was here about a billion times today, I was trying to add you to my list of favorites on my blog, and it just wasn't working. I kept getting an error code, so I will try again a different day. Just so you know I'm not stalking...well, maybe a little I am though but I promise I'm not harmful.

brookem said...

egan- you win! totally gnome yoursane.

egan (again)- i really miss swimming laps for these reasons. perhaps i need to join a pool in prep for the river. oh, and im going to try to be open to the massage idea. i just need to go with it, i believe it will do me good. kinx.

beth- i know what you mean about wanting to get in there! luckily i worked with a big group so i had the chance to do that pretty often. you can bet your ass ill have a cocktail for you.

arm- i have often thought i was some sort of marine thing in my past life. i know what you mean about the lyra-ness of it all, man. but i agree with you, i too feel pretty at ease even under those speedo circumstances.
oh, and thank you so much for the compliment. it means a lot!

radioactive girl- i love the beach too. it's a toss up for me which i prefer. ha, you see, im no where NEAR savvy enough to know who/what/when visits are made to this blog. just linking to another post is a feat for me. so we're all good. :)

Jules said...

You describe it so perfectly. I really don't have anything to add, but this was a really great post.

B said...

I love the water- not a good swimmer though. I plan to go on vacation in july ( by myself) and hang out on a beach somewhere and just relax with a good book.
Sounds like this training you will be doing is gonna be a great thing for you- enjoy!

brandy said...

Okay, so I'm the lone 'non-swimmer' in the group. This stems to an unfortunate incident with a water snake, but let's leave that for another day. I'm glad you have something in your life that brings you that calm feeling, and better yet, you're smart enough to identify it. As for James Blunt at work, dude, are you serious?

radioactive girl said...

I am going to have to pretend I never read Brandy's comment about a water snake and I will go back to my world where they just do not exist. Do they really exist though? Where? I am terrified of snakes! We had a snake in our backyard and while the kids were looking at it thinking how cool it was, I may have been whimpering for my mommy!

brookem said...

jules- thank you for your comment, and for stopping by!

b- your vaca sounds just perfect. love your new picture btw.

brandy- no water snake stories right now. im still settling down about micey. i KNEW you'd have a comment about the james blunt song. yes, im serious. unfortunately.

radioactive girl- i know, i am not thinking of it. first its mice, now this. too much!

brandy said...

Okay, I lied. It was a really pretty bunny rabbit that learned how to swim. It spoke a magical language and burped up gold pieces that I used to buy ice cream.

Airam said...

I suck at swimming but I do love being surrounded by water. I think the fact that I didn't grow up with it obviously has something to do with it. I'm glad that you're getting back into something that you're so passionate about.

brookem said...

brandy- thank you, that's better.

airam- i think if we lived closer we'd be hitting the beach. often.

Airam said...

Now there's a thought ... hitting the beach ... sand in toes ... sandy hair ... sandy hair on hotties ... hotties teaching me how to swim ... hotties buying you a martini ....

damn me and my tangents

brookem said...

airam- ahh those hotties. that's a nice thought for me to ponder before bed. and that sounds naughty. so be it.

Anonymous said...

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JustRun said...

I completely understand this. There is nothing like the water that comforts me. And especially the ocean, staring out there, watching the waves, feeling so small- it's just indescribable. It always gives me what I need. Enjoy your time!

brooke alexandra said...

"It was a time where time, life, actually stopped for me. Was kind of put on hold, while I would swim my worries and stress and whatever else away."
I have tried to explain this very thing to people before, even former team mates and they never fully get it. But you, you do, you get it. This was a great post. I hope you great time with your family this weekend.

The Exception said...

I can relate to this 100%. There are times when I crave the water - the music it sings, the smell, the way it wraps around you...I didn't grow up by a body of water - yet, the ocean (especially) grounds me. It settles my soul.

I used to love swimming as well and know the feeling you are describing. Do you just swim for those reasons anymore?

undercover celebrity said...

I am so with you! I feel so lucky to live by the ocean. When I am sure I can't take one more moment of life, a drive along the coast does me a world of good.

Have a great weekend with your family!

egan said...

Ha, you leave town and you get a nice spam comment. You better hurry back so more solicitors don't try and seduce you with promises of even better widgets.

Have a kickass time yo!

Anonymous said...

Water is soothing... have a great time!

Jason said...

wow, another great post

i've tagged you.. if you care to play, visit this link -

it'll be fun, i promise

The Egg said...

I agree. Water is soothing! Even better is the ocean and its sounds.

ARM said...

I spent 2 1/2 hours in the pool today. Kick ass tan (and a little burn where I missed with the sunscreen...spf 8). I hope you're getting tons of water-time!!

egan said...

1 spam
1 tag
1 spank

ARM said...

She got spanked? Did I miss something?

Brookem, I can't speak for Egan, but I'm bored. That's why I keep coming back. Ye ole blogosphere is kind of in active this weekend (more inactive than normal weekends). Sorry about that, yo!

brookem said...

anonymous- i havent the first clue what the eff a widget is. but thank you oh so much for thinking of me, how kind.

justrun- im beginnin to wonder if this might be a common theme among bloggers. seems like we all dig the water theme. very interesting.

brookelyn- thank you my dear friend. i knew YOU would get it.

the exception- right on. i havent swam for those reasons in a while. i think i need to get back to it.

undercover celeb- exactly! i had a wonderful time, thank you.

brookem said...

egan- i know it. the next time i go off, i may need to enlist you to patrol here. "widget" does sound so sexy too.

desiree- thank you!

jason- thanks. and i think ive done a tag like that before, the "things you dont know about me" game. thank you though.

the egg- something about the ocean, especially.

arm- good for you! i also got a burn, oops.

brookem said...

egan- i got spanked??!

amanda- i hear ya. i feel pretty out of the loop being gone for the weekend too.

Clare said...

Great post and hope you had a lovely weekend.

Logophile said...

I grew up on an island and I also love the swimming, I share this feeling about the water.
When I feel happy I want to go to the beach, when I'm depressed, I want to go to the beach, when I'm moody, I want to go to the beach.
There is nothing like swimming or walking on the beach, sitting in the sand and watching surf to sooth me.

egan said...

A good spanking can be hard to find. I'm game for babysitting your blog so to speak.

Amanda, you should make a podcast to kill some time. Make sure it isn't accessible though as a tease of sorts.