On the swim-less days

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Summer has finally arrived in Toronto. It has been gloriously sunny for days – perfect swimming weather – but I have a three-month-old and leaving her on the side of the pool in a car seat like my mom did with me back in the early 80s is probably not going to fly. So instead of swimming every day like I want to, I've decided to write about swimming every day that the outdoor pools are open in Toronto. I started on June 17th and will keep on until Labour Day.

Some days are long meandering tales of swimming and water and lakes and rivers, other days are just a few words. Some days I write about swimmable puddles, other days are about lifeguarding. It really is the next best thing to swimming...

June 18
I want my arms to be too tired to hold anything, my legs too heavy to carry the weight of me.

June 19
Four years ago today I sat on a beach made out of rock that clacked under foot, a dry, dull clack that competed with the carousel's song and the waves against the shore. I sat on the stones and wondered if this was the Atlantic, or the sea (I still don't know). I wondered if the tide was coming in or going out – I come from a world of lakes and find the idea of a shifting shoreline disorienting. I sat and debated going around and around on the carousel.

I let the sun sink into my shoulders and slipped sun-warmed stones into my pockets so I wouldn't forget the afternoon.

I wish I had gone swimming in Brighton.

June 26
I want my arms to be too tired to hold anything, my legs too heavy to carry the weight of me. I want to lose count and lost time and feel the calm flood my lungs, the calm that settled into the rhythm of my arms, my breath – 1-2-3-breath, a glimpse of the lane rope, 1-2-3-breath, a glimpse of the tiled edge.

July 1
Underneath the lifeguard chair, between the pool and the deck,
the smallest bit of green watches the sun shift turquoise and blinding.


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