Friday, July 1, 2011

Where Would You Love to Go Swimming?

It's that time again - NaBloPoMo time! Though to be honest, every day of every month is NaBloPoMo time, but I am accepting the challenge once more with this blog - cooking and posting a new recipe every day for a month sent me into overload last November. No way am I doing that again. This month's prize is particularly appealing: one post, from one blog, will be chosen to be published on Blogher, thus available to that new audience base, and the lucky blogger will be paid for the submission. ($50, which is pretty good for the blogging world.) The theme for the month is "swim", so let's get to it.

I love swimming - pools, rivers, oceans, a large bathtub: I love the feel of being in the water. As I age my comfort level around the muck and mildew - the general "alive" state of natural waters - in a lake or pond edges toward disgust, but so far I have been able to overcome the gross-factor of it all by deep-breathing and helpfully closing my eyes before jumping in. Who knew I was such a priss? Seriously, though, fish have sex in that.

Life has been fortunate enough to offer me a variety of waters in which to swim, float and relax , including Lakes Bunyonyi and Kivu (in Uganda and Rwanda); the Nile River and Mediterranean Sea; the Pacific Ocean as it laps against the shores of Hawaii's Big Island; as well as waters which I have stepped into but would not submerge any part of my body above the knee because those waters were truly, chemically, dirty: Lake Victoria and the Persian Gulf automatically come to mind. But where would I love to go swimming? It may seem quaint, but I want to swim in the Patuxent River, outside of Upper Marlboro, Maryland - my hometown. When I was a freshman in high school and still a member of the environmental club, the Patuxent was where we would go to learn how to test the health of a waterway (levels of dissolved oxygen and nitrogen, turbidity and so on.) I loved the visit that river - I continued to after leaving the club and even after leaving high school - and watch it slowly make its way north, away from the Chesapeake. Though small, the Patuxent boasts a large wildlife presence, especially of birds, including osprey, Great Blue Heron, and a family of bald eagles.

I never went swimming in it. Sure, I stepped in up to my calves when canoeing, but that water is dirty, muddy-dirty, and I could never imagine submersing myself into that murk. During one club trip, a two-day excursion for some special occasion that I no longer remember, one girl jumped in the river and swam around for a bit. Upon seeing my shocked and disgusted face when she emerged she laughed and said, "Now I'm cleaner than everyone!" Seeing as how water clarity was about six inches or so (meaning that if you dropped a white plunger into the water, after six inches of depth you couldn't see it anymore), I just shook my head and thought, "You are so nasty right now."

Which means I have always been a priss; damn, I swear I used to be tougher. I would still love to go for a swim in the Patuxent - or at least let some water go above my knee. Standing mid-thigh is the same as swimming, right?

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