august 5/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
80 degrees
9:40 am

Standing at the picnic table where Scott was sitting after open swim, looking out at the sparkling water, feeling the breeze, I said, “Ah, this is the life!” That about sums it up for me. Open water swimming at this lake is one of my most favorite things to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s choppy, which it was, or hard to sight, that too. I love it. I feel calm and strong and satisfied.

images of the day

A vee of geese flying fairly low over the lake, maybe a dozen? I couldn’t hear them, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I was seeing. It’s not unusual to see geese already starting to fly south in august. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about them in past august entries.

Another swimmer, only appearing as dancing light on the surface of the water.

Anything else? Waves, swells, making it hard sometimes to do a full stroke. A few planes flying above me, and seagulls. Some dude doing tai-chi at the edge of the beach. One white sailboat — this one wasn’t menancing.

a line I should recite before entering the water:

It is time now, I said,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit
among the flux of happenings.

from “Swimming, one day in August”/ Mary Oliver

Another bird call identified! At least since last year, I’ve been hearing this metallic, kind of like a tin whistle, call from a bird, but I couldn’t figure out what kind of bird was making it. This morning, while finishing up my oatmeal, I heard it again. This time right out in our big service berry bush, which has become more like tree than bush. I couldn’t see it, but I heard it make this call a few times, then right before it flew away, it did another call. This call I knew — the irritating shriek of the blue jay. A blue jay? Looked it up and found the call on! Well, not exactly but almost. It’s the sixth call down, the one from Florida, 1962. Excellent!

Scott and FWA are both playing in the pit for Mary Poppins this week in Austin. We went to the show last night; it was great. Kept thinking about the last song, “Anything Can Happen”:

Anything can happen if you let it

Stretch your mind beyond fantastic
Dreams are made of strong elastic

Turn it on it’s head then pirouette it
Anything can happen if you let it.

If you reach for the stars
All you get are the stars

But we’ve found a whole new spin
If you reach for the heavens
You get the stars thrown in.

There are different ways to intepret this song; I like the idea of it being about letting go, not getting in your own way, not trying too hard to do one thing but doing something else and seeing what happens. You could read these lyrics as making your dreams bigger, more expansive. I like that, but I also like thinking about them as advice for approaching your goals from the side instead of head on.

The idea of not getting in your own way, reminds me of Ron Padgett’s great poem, How to Be Perfect:

Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do
anything to make it impossible.