bicycles and swim trunks

On Sunday, I crossed yet another item off of my “Someday I’ll do this” list. I took the swim test for the Minnewaska Distance Swimmers Association (, earning me the privilege of swimming outside the roped off kiddie beach at Lake Minnewaska. Huzzah! I took the test at the Moriello Pool. It was a beautiful (though hot and humid) day, and the pool parking lot was packed as I pulled in on my bike. I spent about an hour at the pool; during which time, not a single other bicycle appeared on the bike rack. This is a source of constant disappointment to me. Here in New Paltz, we wear our green politics on our sleeves, electing progressive politicians and standing on the street corner protesting the war; but when it comes to making actual changes in behaviour, even something as simple as biking to the community pool instead of driving is a novelty. Quite honestly, I hope gas goes up to eight bucks a gallon (and it probably will, of course).

Anyway… I couldn’t believe how nervous I was, standing by the pool, waiting for my turn to jump in and do laps. Something about being judged, I guess, even for something as trivial as this. Despite the fact that I hadn’t done laps in a long time (probably almost 20 years), I didn’t have much doubt that I could pass the test. I thought back on growing up and spending Saturday mornings at the YMCA taking swimming classes. Maybe the ghosts from that unpleasant time in my life were being resurrected in my mind. But I jumped in and swam nonetheless when my time came, and I guess I swam so well that the ghosts couldn’t keep up. I feel that mindset permeating other aspects of my life too, sometimes; my yoga practice, especially. I see what’s going on in my mind, whatever turmoils and tempests I’ve brought to the mat with me, and I try to practice as if none of that is there. Sometimes, practicing that way helps to separate the wheat from the chaff. Sometimes.


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