This is not our natural environment, ice or no ice.

We are not meant to travel by water.
We are land creatures, and, as such, we are designed to walk upright and gather our nourishment from the land.
But we clearly evolved out of the water, because we are forever drawn to it.
So no wonder we go forth in the cold, dark days of winter and change into swim suits and willingly travel by water in indoor pools. Hey, some hearty souls even go so far as to call themselves polar bears and run happily into ice-bound lakes and rivers.
Why this madness?
Why do we want to travel by water when the fish are clearly laughing at us, and the dolphins are dancing rings around us?
When there were circuses to be enjoyed, we used to laugh at the clumsy attempts by seals to behave like land mammals. So, of course, they guffaw in seal when we enter their salty domain on surfboards and get mistaken for them by great white sharks.
I pondered all of this the other day as I swam some long, slow distance at the South Shore Health & Racquet Club in St. Joseph, Michigan.
There are no fish in the pool—at least that I am aware of—but, if there were, I know they would be laughing their gills off at my clumsy attempt to be a sea creature.
I am no more a creature of the sea than an octopus is a mountain climber.
Come on, land-based folks, we are landlubbers, pure and simple.
Ask any seasick sailor where she would rather be: on a storm-tossed ship out in the middle of the ocean, or home in bed with a fire dying peacefully in the hearth.
Such were my thoughts as I hit the wall and turned back to do another lap.
Why am I doing this?
What sort of creature do I think I am?
I could be making three times better time on deck, even in deck shoes.
Yeah, I told myself, but you like it.
You like travel by water.
Just because you were a big fan of Flipper on TV, doesn’t mean you are some friendly dolphin that always comes to rescue its stupid landlubber pals.
You’re a human with no webbing between your fingers and toes. You could swim all the long, slow distance you want and never give a goldfish a swim for its money.
So why?
Why abandon a warm bed, get dressed, drive through the wintry darkness, get undressed, throw on a swim suit, and jump into a cool, chlorinated swimming pool and swim laps before first light?
What’s this all about?
Why, Chuckie Boy, are you doing this?
Stroke, stroke, bail, bail.
Another turn.
More of the same, with fogged-up goggles, no less.
And then it hit me.
Loud and clear, and right from the ‘60s of my misspent youth:
And so do it I do, and I will continue to swim long, slow distance as long as it keeps feelin’ good.

If it feels good, do it!

About charleymckelvy

Charles McKelvy lives and writes in southwest Michigan with his wife and fellow writer, Natalie McKelvy. They established the Dunery Press in 1988 in order to publish their own fiction. They continue to do so to this day. Charles McKelvy is an Eagle Scout.
This entry was posted in aging, lake effect snow, Lake Michigan, swimming and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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