I swim for exercise several times a week, and undergo a species transformation. Vertical to horizontal, gravity-bound to weightless, a lumbering biped becomes an aquatic mammal. Immersed, massaged, chilled, my entire body tingles from the supporting surround of water. As I “crawl” along, head swinging from down to up, my vision turns from watery shimmer to sunlit solidity…and back. Embedded in this frolic in an alternative universe resides a thorn. Lose a breath, sense the remoteness of landed safety, gulp the aquatic environ, and a stab of fright reminds me that my shape-shifting self is not untethered. I must breathe. The water that supports can also kill. Whether in the pool, the page, or the mind, we can gain blessed respite from our fate, but we cannot be rescued. I swim, I sing this joyous panic.
weightless in the surge