In Two Worlds
Gaining — and regaining — perspective through swimming
My movements are defined by different planes than in standard human moments. The floor is below, but I rarely touch it and never rest my full weight on it. The wall is up ahead until I twirl, crouch on it with my bare feet, and jump off of it. I reach at once ahead and directly up over my head, then I pull one hand, then the other, down to my thigh to propel myself forward.
My body and mind are allowed to occupy multiple realms at once. Each time I turn my face to the World of Breath, just before its airiness touches my face, I’m granted a view of it from below. Through a shimmering, bubble-kissed pane of water, its promise shines down on the peaceful silence of the World of Glide.
When I once again turn my head back to center and face the World of Glide, the sounds embrace my existence. The movement of the water created by my own power washes soothingly over my ears, against my head, flowing over and behind me. The auditory experience that blankets me eludes spelling: wwwmmmmmmmshhh punctuated by the tinkle of tiny splashes and the round sounds of bubbles wriggling up to the World of Breath from the blue-silver depths.
In this space where these two realms meet and meld, the outside vertical world of silent desperation feels less omnipresent and incomprehensible. The comfort of predictability holds me up: glide, reach, pull, shhhhh, breathe, flutter, glide, reach, pull, somersault, pirouette, reach, sshhh, breathe. Seamless movement back and forth over the dancing line where two worlds meet allows me to somehow exist within the pane that defines their separation.
I become a dancer and a powerlifter, a poet and a mathemetician, an aquatic being and more attuned to each oxygenated breath. My mind clears, my arms take over and my legs steadily follow, I see beauty and I feel burn. Swimming—occupying two worlds at the same time—cleanses my mind of barriers. If I can soften and rewrite my movements, my sense of place, and my sense of self here, why not out in the land of dry and dust and wind?
Glide, reach, pull, shhhhh, breathe, flutter, glide, reach, pull, somersault, pirouette, reach, sshhh, breathe.
Finally, I slow my breath and my body, float for a moment, then emerge into the vertical space lighter and brighter, carrying my own bubble dance.
And when I dry out and forget, back to the water I go, to refresh my perspective.
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More about me: I wear the sweatpants in my relationship.