I haven’t been posting much, because the whole “I’m tired” thing gets… tiring. It’s been weeks (months?) since I felt the slightest burst of energy.
I start out exhausted in the morning, and I remain exhausted throughout the day, to the point where it seems like an unreasonable effort to have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
So you’d think that when I tell people that I won’t get tired doing something, they could take that to the bank.
But during my family reunion, when I announced that I wanted to swim across the lake, my family thought it sounded crazy.
Now, I have always wanted to swim across a lake. My uncle had a cottage, and so did a friend of mine in High School, both on lakes. I’d be swimming or lounging on the dock, and I’d look at the line of trees on the other side and think “I can swim that far.”
But people always said, “Oh, it’s farther than it looks. What if you get tired?”
What if I get tired – what a silly question. Swimming has always been effortless for me. Oh, sure, if I swim fast enough I’ll get tired, just as you might get tired from jogging. But then I can just slow down and stop and take a rest. No different from walking, really, except that I am weightless. No sore feet, no hills to climb.
But I never did it, because other people told me I couldn’t. Or shouldn’t.
Now here I was staying on the edge of a lake for a week and the other side was there, taunting me. My family would get in canoes and kayaks and skirt around the lake. They would go on a hike and walk all the way around the lake. So why couldn’t I swim across it? I had always wanted to see if I could swim as far as I thought I could.
I am 31 years old. How long do we have to be adults before we can start making our own choices? Who could tell a thirty-something, married adult “no”?
Oh right, the people who loved me.
“What if you get tired?”
“Then I’ll STOP and REST. It’s called FLOATING. It’s EFFORTLESS. I’ve snorkled for hours without getting tired. How is this any different?”
“What if you get a cramp?”
“I have never, in 30 years of swimming, gotten a CRAMP. And if I did, I would FLOAT until it felt BETTER.”
Only PH and one of my favourite cousins thought it sounded reasonable and doable.
Finally, I compromised with my parents. They agreed to try not to worry too much IF I was accompanied by PH in a CANOE, with two life vests on board.
We told them to expect us back in three hours. Really, we estimated that I could probably do it in two.
And so we struck out. PH didn’t hover by me, waiting for me to sink. He knew he was there solely for my parents’ peace of mind. He was a dot in the distance at times.
I was fine. I was swimming, and for the first time in my life, I was swimming without any obstacles blocking me. No imaginary perimeter of open ocean to avoid. No end of the pool. Just a distant shoreline ahead of me that looked just as far away after swimming for a good 20 minutes.
I didn’t get tired. A couple of times, as a joke, I stopped swimming entirely. No leg movements. No arm movements. I just bobbed there, head and neck well above the water, while PH and I smirked at each other.
I aimed for the cliff on the far side. The water there was creepily deep and cold and clear, but it was easy to climb out on the rock, and nice and safe to jump off and back into the lake.
I worked harder on the swim back. Neither of us had a watch so we weren’t sure how much time we had taken, and I was in a rush so my parents wouldn’t worry. The wind kept blowing waves that pushed me off course.
I still didn’t get tired, and we arrived back at the beach only an hour and a half after our time of departure.
My Dad was standing on the shore waiting for me to come in. He told me later that watching me swim in he had suffered frequent waves of worry because I kept “disappearing” under the water and then resurfacing.
Owl broke away from the shore to join me in the water when I got into the shallows, and we spent another half hour splashing happily.
Meanwhile PH dragged the canoe onto the shore. “She went down three times. I had to keep fishing her out,” he told my mother, who actually believed him for a minute (to his delighted amusement).
He told me later that I had looked more myself on that swim than I had for a very long time.
I think that’s the last time I didn’t feel tired.