Saturday, June 02, 2007

And Then Solitude...

It was a beautifully sunny day on Thursday, supposed to hit 90 degrees here, and I realized that school gets out next week, which means the beaches will all get crowded. Time to take advantage of that homeschoolers' free time thing and get the kids to the beach. Actually, we ended up going to this lake right next to the beach with lots of sand dunes around, a favorite place for them to play. We piled the van full of them and their friends, a bunch of sand and water toys and headed for the coast. It was cooler than here, and strands of mist alternately covered the sun and revealed it. The wind picked up and died down so we were freezing one minute and warm the next, but of course the kids jumped right into the lake and swam endlessly, not to mention having sand-mud fights, burying themselves in sand, and finding all sorts of other ways to get sand in every conceivable part of their bodies.

Usually when we go there, I manage to sneak in an open water swim while a friend watches the kids, and this time was no exception. It was a little bit like jumping rope. Your friends are twirling the rope and you're watching it go by, looking for just the right time to jump in. I watched the fog swirl in and retreat, felt the chilly wind blow and abide, and looked for just the right time to jump in that slightly-too-cold (and I didn't bring my wetsuit!) water. Finally it was calm and sunny and I went for it and swam a mile or so around the edges of the lake.

At the start of every open-water swimming season, I somehow manage to forget just exactly how wonderful it is. So every time it surprises me just a little, how the water looks like champagne when the sunlight hits the small bubbles rising off of my hands entering the water, how the splashes sparkle in the air, how smooth it feels to just keep on swimming with no turns and no walls. And then again, how absolutely freaky it is when you run into The Dreaded Lakeweed for the first time each year. I try not to panic and thrash about and get dragged down to the depths by the creeping tentacles of lakeweed, but I swim away quickly nonetheless. Other than the lakeweed though, it's just me out there, in the silence and the sunshine, with the osprey swooping overhead and the tatters of mist blowing by. I felt like I could swim forever, but eventually reluctantly head back to shore. I had a small twinge of sadness when I reached the shore and my Sabre wasn't waiting anxiously there for me. You see, although he was half Labrador, he never liked to swim, and he always felt that I was in imminent danger when I went into the water, so he would hover along the shoreline, fretting and whining the entire time I was swimming. My friends got used to this and I came to just expect it - my furry sentinel watching over me. So it was hard when, for the first time, he wasn't there. I'd like to think that somewhere in the sunbeams hitting the lake, his protective and loving spirit was standing guard still.

After everyone was good and tired out, we piled back in the troop-hauler and headed wearily for home. The kids almost fell asleep in their plates of pasta, and they left a small sandbar in the bottom of the bathtub, but the inaugural beach day was as wondrous as it has always been. Here's to more yards in the great blue solitude.


TriGirl 40 said...

What could be better than the pure happiness and exhaustion after a day at the beach? Though the Sabre part tugs the heartstrings.

TriJack said...

beautifup pics!

TriGirl 40 said...

The picture of your son reminds me of the picture of you from your post about Battle of the Sexes!