Whenever the tide was high and the sun was out, my friend John Crawford would knock on my door and shout: "Swim time!" I think I wore my swimsuit every day when I lived on Dorchester Cape in New Brunswick so as to not miss a single second of swimming. We would jump into John's little blue Mazda truck, with fuzzy happy sweaty Shepody dog sitting between us (on the gear stick) and blast down the steep hill to the beach. All of 400 meters away to the Bay of Fundy splash pad. Nancy, the lovely bus driver who lived just up a ways saw me swimming once and shook her head slowly and seriously, telling me there were mud sharks in the, well, mud. I sorta either didn't believe her or didn't care. John didn't either. We swam and splashed and jumped at the waves any chance we could. That is how we stayed children, even as we were getting older, day by day, minute by minute, second by second.
I am younger now than I was then, thanks to all the childish ways we refused to give up, and so, we shared. There I am, with my favourite two-piece bathing suit, learning to swim at Tema-augama-ashi. I remember that day in my bones. Thank you, John. Swimming is pure shared, joy that has the power to turn back the clock.
You have been gone over a month now, but I know where you are: you are splashing in the muddy waves, laughing your head off, challenging me to do a handstand.
People of the Big World: there is magic to be found wherever you can help the fear to back-up. (Well, reasonably. There were no sharks,. And, there was-is no rip-tide in this part of the Bay: it was too shallow. You could walk for about 5 miles straight out from the shore toward Grindstone Island and still be up to your waist in water (up to your ankles in slick mud, under that water).
Do you know what I discovered!!?? That if it is a hot, hot summer day... and the mudflats of the ocean have been baking for hours in that sun... and then the mighty tide of the Fundy (or wherever the tide visits the land) covers that broad expanse of sea bottom with water.... when you swim in that water, the bottom is hot. The water is freezing cold, and the solid parts, underneath that freezing water, where your feet (or your hands, if you actually try a handstand) touch, is warm, warm, warm.
There is nothing I love more than for my whole being to be confounded by the sensuous upside-down alchemy of the living world. This is where healing and repair and joy emanate from, for all beings. I do believe that these are the gifts in our shared world to heal the trauma and the congealed shitty habits and the lack of connection and the loneliness and the despair over the planet's well-being and the tax bills and the cancer. It is also what we need to have inside our bodies and minds and hearts when we resist the grotesque laughably profit-driven tacky cash-register-eyes plans for THE WATER or THE LAND or THE FORESTS that are rolled out by the Ford government (Therme! Spa! What the fuck!?? The Lake is already "a spa"!). Or a University's plan to build a "Honey Bee Research Station" replete with gift store on top of a working certified organic farm (la la la) or this or that dumb dumb something. Even Rob Ford could probably enjoy trying a watery handstand, with his best friend, on a sunny day, if things go a bit differently. Or: he could just sun himself on the beach and watch us frolic.