Inspirational Prose: Swimming
Swimming has always been a special and strange activity to me. Within the isolation of my hearing impaired experience, I seek the wonderment and fascination of the properties and behavior of water and my interactions with it. There is always the ritual of gradually stepping into the welcoming silence of a swimming pool. I must test the temperature and become tolerant to it. Then as I sink slowly into the water, while mildly floating upwards, I delight in the water’s comforting embrace, allowing me to spread out and relax while being massaged by the gentle waves lightly brushing against my body.
After the initial adjustment and relaxation in the water, I go to work testing the buoyancy of my body. As I get older, I experiment with summersaults in the water, discovering how to avoid dizziness while maintaining my directional focus of which way was up. Not being able to interact with other people in the pool, I create my own scientific experiments and physical challenges to test my body against the water, while enjoying the ecstasy of freedom from gravity’s heavy pull.
Choosing one of my favorite games, I see how closely I can swim down to the bottom and how long I can lie there and move along the bottom with my hands before having to swim back up. After a pause, I begin pushing against the surface of the water with my arm and hand as I spin around in place, creating large waves of water jutting up and outward. The repetitive creation of waves calms me and excites me at the same time, while also creating the only sound I can hear. The large, yet quiet, sound and visual movement of the wave lures me into a hypnotic focus on the blending of me into water.
Without the sounds of voices, all of my communication with people is by gesture and lip reading. Switching from the cue of sounds, my vision and touch become an artful guide to the interpretation of my environment. The detailed gestures in the pool are beautiful, like a choreographed dance of ideas and emotions etching into the gentle motions of the water and the stillness of silence.