bike: 8 miles
lake nokomis and back
75 degrees (there) / 80 degrees (back)
9:15 am (there) / 10:45 am

Biked with Scott to the lake. Went a little faster than with FWA. Do I remember anything? Not much. Hearing the lifeguards setting up the buoys as we neared the lake, feeling the wind rush past my ears, being passed by a very nice biker near Nokomis.

When I asked Scott what he remembered, he reminded me of a cool image I pointed out to him: a band of orange light, about a foot high, stretching across the brick wall of the beach house, above the bike racks. It was a reflection from the solar panels near Sandcastle.

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
78 degrees

Very choppy today. Still wonderful. Open swim is one of my favorite things. For the first loop, the waves pushed me out farther away from the buoys. Mostly, I liked the rocking — not too rough, but not gentle either. I think I noticed a few silver flashes below me. Didn’t see the sky much, too many waves. Today I mostly saw water or a lifeguard kayak, a pink cap, or a yellow or orange buoy tethered to a swimmer. Swimming around the last green buoy was a wild ride; it felt like the water was pushing me along. Noticed a few other swimmers getting away off course, being pushed by the waves. Sometimes I breathed every 5 strokes, but more often it was every 4. I breathed on the side that was away from the waves.

I don’t remember seeing any ducks, or being brushed by any vegetation, or waring noticing a menancing sailboat. No extra loud beaches or little kids asking me questions about swimming across the lake.

I found a quote from a Mary Oliver poem (in Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s first post for her World of Wonder column) that I’m planning to use in my lecture for my class this week. This is the orgin of the quote (with the quote in italics):

The Ponds/ Mary Oliver

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them —

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

MO’s description here of choosing to believe in the beauty or the good or whatever you’d call it, and not the flaws, reminds me of how I mostly see the world with my diseased eyes: because I can’t always look closer (not much central vision), I see the world as softer, in more general forms. I can’t see the small flaws or the ugliness as often. This inability to see details causes lots of problems, but it also enables me to look on the world with less scrutiny. Not sure how it works for other people who have damaged central vision, but that’s how it works for me.