Spring Head

The cardio room stocks a pair of indoor rowers, placed next to each other in one corner. It's rare that I use one and am alone through my entire workout; it's hard to keep my own pace when someone else is rowing inches to my side. Usually, I outrow my partner, and usually, I go through several of them before I'm ready to quit. Yesterday, I was trounced, and it felt good. The chances of finding a spare rower are much higher than a spare treadmill, and the activity is much more interesting to me on a purely intellectual level. I have very little desire to row an actual boat, but the ergometer provides an interesting set of statistics to stare at.

I stretch on a mat that overlooks the lap pool, and remember the days when I swam thrice a week. I have never been a fast or strong swimmer, but one summer of stubborn grinding at least gave me the ability to spend hours paddling. A few weeks ago, I swam over a spring head feeding northern Florida's waterways, a crack in the bedrock thirty feet below the surface that pushed sixty-five million gallons of water out of the aquifer per day. I could sustain swimming into it, if not for the pressure that crushed against my ears.

I have never been a diver. The draw of swimming hard against the invisible current kept me hovering in place, twenty feet below the surface, the point at which I could not sustain the pain enough to keep pressing downwards.

My mother never realized I had learned to swim; my childhood swimming was characterized by floundering in place and never moving in any direction I intended. She was raised in the water herself, but I still swam circles around her when we were looking at the spring head. My father spent years as a lifeguard, yet was terrified to put his head completely under.

There are days when I realize I've exceeded my parents in some things, and those are strange thoughts.

28 January 2014 11:26

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