feb 19/SWIM

1.3 miles
ywca pool

Swam with RJP this morning. Only 2 lanes open. The H2O combo class was happening in lanes 3-5. Fun to watch all the bouncing underwater. RJP and I had to circle swim with one more swimmer for a few minutes. I told her that I’ve only circle swum twice in the last 30 years. Wow! That’s a long time.

Had a nice conversation with one of the H2O people in the locker room after we were done. She said she used to swim but couldn’t any more because she injured her rotator cuff. It was fun to talk to her. I love the older women energy in the y locker room.

What do I remember about my swim?

  1. A blue pool noodle was creeping over the edge of the lane line. I felt it first, then saw it, ready to attack me
  2. The guy in the next lane, in red swim trunks, churned up a lot of foam with his kick.
  3. It was calming to watch the H2O people bouncing in the water.
  4. 2 cute little kids in the locker room, fully of weekend energy.
  5. the pool floor had some dark crud on the tiles
  6. the water was clearer than Thursday
  7. the water had faint shadows that danced on the tiles
  8. I forgot to wash out all of the baby shampoo and now my eyes burn

Today’s Pastan poem:

Ethics/ Linda Pastan

In ethics class so many years ago
our teacher asked this question every fall:
If there were a fire in a museum,
which would you save, a Rembrandt painting
or an old woman who hadn’t many
years left anyhow?  Restless on hard chairs
caring little for pictures or old age
we’d opt one year for life, the next for art
and always half-heartedly.  Sometimes
the woman borrowed my grandmother’s face
leaving her usual kitchen to wander
some drafty, half-imagined museum.
One year, feeling clever, I replied
why not let the woman decide herself?
Linda, the teacher would report, eschews
the burdens of responsibility.
This fall in a real museum I stand
before a real Rembrandt, old woman,
or nearly so, myself.  The colors
within this frame are darker than autumn,
darker even than winter — the browns of earth,
though earth’s most radiant elements burn
through the canvas. I know now that woman
and painting and season are almost one
and all beyond the saving of children.

I like the idea of asking the old woman what she wants, but wish it could have taken that idea somewhere other than to the inevitable conclusion of death. I really like Pastan’s poems, but it does seem that so many of her poems end with death. Aging seems to be reduced to dying/getting closer to death.