Monday, September 2, 2013

Feet First - On Jumping Into Lake Washington

On Wednesday, my husband and I were invited by our good friends to join them on a sail boat ride. She had won an auction item the year before to have a 6 person dinner and wine event and was finally getting a chance to enjoy it. The day was amazing - sunny, warm, not a huge breeze (which wasn't great for sailing, but it would open up later in the night). A few hours into the wonderful trip, the opportunity to go swimming was brought up. Of course I hadn't been planning on swimming and did not bring any bathing suit. However, this did not stop me from jumping in. Below are the thoughts that were bouncing around my head as I enjoyed the lovely late night dip....

I screamed a bit as I crashed into the water. It wasn't out of fear though, as one may imagine occurs when jumping off a boat into the evening shadows. Oh no. This noise, screech really, erupted from my body out of exhilaration.Pure joy.

Maybe it was the 4ish glasses of wine (1 champagne, 1 white, 2.5 reds) that had me readily agreeing to jumping into the middle of Lake Washington at 9:30pm in my jeans and bra. Or maybe it was the acknowledgement that this type of event - sporadic - would most likely not occur anytime soon. And as I made my way to the front of the boat, my comrades cheering me on in varying degrees of support, I launched myself off the front of the beautiful sailboat and into the deep waters below.


After regaining my breath from the initial shock of wet and gradually getting used to my jeans sticking to me, I began to float and tread. The few conversations from my boat-mates - how cold is it? how do you feel? I can't believe you are wearing your jeans! - gradually fell away as they went back to the wine and I was left alone.  But I felt serene. I was letting the weeks of stress, uncertainty and anger extend out of me and float away as I listened to the hum of distant boats off the water.

I literally felt like it was melting - I carry so much weight from the world on my body that the weightless sensation, 172 feet from the bottom of the floor, took me to a place of serenity. Think Happy Gilmore's "happy place".

Of course the voices from the boat came back and my friend, a much better and fitter planner than I, joined me in her bathing suit to swim along.

She had a similar reaction. The sense of peace and quiet - even though technically we were surrounded by people and noise, it held this private sanctuary for the soul; albeit briefly. There have been few times in life I've ever felt that calm: The Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal, Canada; The Seven Sacred Pools of Hana in Maui, Hawaii; the top of the bell tower in Siena, Italy. And now, in the middle of Lake Washington, late at night, 172 feet from the bottom of the lake floor.

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