In the shallow end of the pool we get used to water. When I have grown sufficiently used to it, I no longer need stand in 3 feet of water; no longer need to contemplate wetness and the feeling the cocoon-like sensations of water on my body. I come to youthful maturity – whatever maturity is – among others in the water with me, watching me, some serving as models for me and others modeling after me. We are all learning how to “be” in the water.
Others, mostly older wiser as well as some of those not-so-wise know-it-alls stand at the side of the pool shouting instructions regarding the rules of the pool. There are water wings available in case we feel needy. I don’t feel needy. I know I am safe and that I can comfortably splash around those in the pool with me. We pass time together allowing waters of the safe shallow end move, ebb and flow all around us.
Yet, I look out toward the other end of the pool, beyond the center rope. I see human beings just like me who are moving about in ways other than standing or splashing. They are not wearing water wings. Some are jumping, allowing themselves ti subj deep under and within the water before suddenly leaping upward out of the water – as high as they are able – before falling back into the water … like porpoises … like whales … having fun … enjoying the water, not threatened by it.
I see others climbing out of the water, wiping water from their eyes and faces, only then to lean forward and dive in head first. They then do not try to stand or jump out of the water. They swim, their feet not having touched the ground but used to propel them forward. Like eagles in the sky above, in the water, these human beings in their own way are soaring.
Others walk to the edge of the deepest part of the pool, climb onto boards – some stretching out over the water at unbelievable heights. They use these boards like I use a trampoline, flinging themselves out over the water, as high as they can before descending – some like arrows and others like cannon balls as they enter the water with joy, excitement and pleasure … like otters.
I want to do that.
Back in the shallow end of the pool, I tell the sideline coaches that I don’t think I need water wings today, but if I do I surely know where to get them. Some of the coaches smile and urge me on. Others, fearful that I might not need them anymore, caution me about water wings, deep water, drowning and other objects of fear.
I look once more toward the deep end of the pool and begin walking and splashing toward the far end. The water now laps and my lips, splashes in my ears, moistens my eyes. I am not afraid. At the point where the floor starts to move away and down from my feet, if feel the departure of the artificial grounding that formed the basis of my original ability to stand and splash in shallow water. I let my feet touch the declining floor one more time, feeling deeper water ebbing and flowing in all directions; seemingly offering me a universe of heretofore unknown sensations and knowings.
I raise my arms, preparing to stroke and paddle, fill my lungs with air, bend knees and anticipate my legs’ imminent departure from my usual anchoring stance. Aware of a new excitement sweeping over me, I leap into the air, rising out of the water, falling forward and command my arms and legs to do what they’ve always known how to do.
A begin what is for me a new dance in the waters of life … what I was meant to do.