july 30/SWIM

4 loops
open swim lake nokomis
69 degrees

Another great Sunday swim. Sunny and a calm. A little cooler, but not too bad. Felt very strong on the first loop, not so strong by the fourth one. Somewhere in the middle, I lost track of the number of loops I was doing. I entered the swimming area at the main beach convinced I had done 5, when I had only done 4. Oh well, that was enough for me. For some reason, today’s swim tired me out more than the 4 loops on Friday. I guess it is a lot of swimming. I swam more miles this week (10.5) than I ran (10). I think I swam more miles than ran this entire month. I did a rough check, and they were basically the same. Wow. I really cut back on running this month and increased my swimming!

Started the swim by being routed by someone with an orange safety buoy. No worries. I just stopped for a minute and regrouped.

Saw at least one plane, many minnows, the swimmer with green arms — I still can’t tell if it’s a wetsuit or a sun shirt (or whatever they’re called), pale legs under the water, sparkles on the water’s surface, a clear sky, then a cloud-filled one, shiny bubbles from my fingers.

I recited a few poems — lines from “A Nude Swim,” “Evaporations,” and “The Meadow.” Thought again about my body losing all of its loneliness.

Wow, this poem!

Glacier/ Claire Wahmanholm

It is everywhere. It is the water I am trying to teach my daughters to float in. It is the sky I tell them to keep their eyes on. It is the air I tell them to seal in their mouths should they slip underwater. I am a leaky boat, but I am trying to answer their questions. As deep as thirty Christmas trees. As deep as twenty giraffes standing on each other’s backs. There hasn’t been a sea here for seventy-five million years. I cannot explain that number. My daughters’ ankles are sinking into the beryl water. No one can float forever. On the map, pushpins skewer patches of icy green like rare moths. I am trying to say it’s too late without making them too sad. It’s like how you can’t take the blue out of the white paint, like how you can’t hear your name and not turn around. The calving of glaciers is the loudest underwater sound on Earth. I dip my daughters’ ears beneath the surface to let them listen. It’s like how you can’t put a feather back on a bird, like how the bird won’t fit back into its shell. We step backward into the house. I wring the glacier out of their suits. I wring it out of their hair. I wipe it from their faces, but it is everywhere. It is the storm, it is the drowned harbor, it is the current, it is the bathwater that the baby slurps before we can stop her. The horizon rises. It rains. The glacier hammers the roof, the glacier soaks a corner of the bedroom ceiling, which greens with spores. On the map, the pushpins hover over green air, the green air is a spreading shroud. The storm surges ashore, mercurial and summer-smelling. We are not accustomed to the sea, so we describe it like a sky. The waves are tornado green and loud. In the water, the polar bears look like clouds.