Of course, two summers ago, I was healing from my surgery, which was in July. I couldn't have gone for a swim until November. And, of course, I would have swum then only if I had taken a trip to a warm climate or gone to an indoor pool. And I much prefer swimming in an ocean, lake, stream or some other body of water that's a geographical feature.
Last summer, I didn't swim. I told myself I didn't want to swim because an infection I had in the spring had just healed and I didn't want to endanger my recovery. The truth was that I felt fat and didn't want to put on a bathing suit, even if both of the bathing suits I own are one-piece affairs.
But today I rode with a friend to Rockaway Beach. It's not anyone's idea of an ideal beach, but it is on the Atlantic and, actually, not bad. If I wait for a "better" beach, with bluer or warmer water, who knows when I would have been able to swim again?
Some things don't change: I felt the same sort of release--a catharsis, a liberation and an opening outward--I always feel when I spread my arms and legs in waves of water. But, I had two other, seemingly contradictory, sensations: On one hand, I felt like a new dolphin just released into the sea, while, on the other, I felt I was continuing an old dream. Actually, in terms of my current life, that dream is old: I experienced it two nights after my surgery. But it is new, in part because two years ago is really not long ago (unless you are in the fashion or high-technology industries), but also because it was new in the way renewals always are.
Today I came out of the water to a Lakythia, friend who accompanied me there. I didn't know her when I had the surgery, or the night I had that dream. In fact, I didn't know her until about two months ago. But we got on our bikes, and everything felt familiar as it always does when you meet it again.