|Confessions from 9000 days of water homage|
Water comforts me, challenges me, consoles me, renews me. Over the years, I have found water to be a spiritual force in my life. My parents tell of how before I was even one, I crawled into a lake. I have come to the realization that I don’t seem to function properly if I am away from total weightless immersion in the water for extended periods of time. Can’t say that I always had that awareness but I do remember periods where I was disconcerted, achy and lacking center and balance. Now that I have passed 60, one of the benefits of that milestone is that you have lots of experience and you notice certain patterns over time. I have also estimated that I have been in the water about 9000 days – the equivalent of being in the water every single day for over 24 years.
Those 9000 days have been divided between being in the ocean, lakes, dozens if not hundreds of pools, hot tubs (that counts to some degree…) and even on snow (frozen water). Lap swimming is something that I have done a lot over the years. Not always enjoyable but certainly necessary to health and well being. I have also found that swimming has a way of promoting clear thinking and helping to resolve knotty problems. My consciousness has also been raised by water homage which I will get into deeper in a bit.
Estimating the number of days of water homage is a challenge trying to account for the last six decades but my childhood summers growing up in Syracuse, New York were regularly spent in the above ground pool that my parents acquired recognizing that vacations with five children would be expensive and logistically challenging so they get some credit for inventing the staycation. Summers in Upstate New York could be hot and humid so dips in the pool were regular and sometime multiple times per day. The 9000 doesn’t count multiple swims in the same day as more than one. Growing up with 3 brothers and sister created a natural amount of competition so being first one in the pool for the season was one of the many competitions we engaged in. I recall going in early one season when there was still a section of ice that had not fully melted. I don’t believe that I was in the water very long that day so if I don’t count that one, it doesn’t really make much difference.
Snow was another form of water that brought with it both roaring blowing winds and the most gentle and serene silences. I don’t really consider all the days spent shoveling the driveway or trudging through the snow as water homage and there were enough of those to motivate me to move to California. I do recall the blizzard of 66 when I was 11 when we had 69 inches of snow in three days. It was light and fluffy but firm enough for us to burrow a honeycomb of tunnels in our yard without disturbing the surface of the snow. In the muffled silences of those tunnels which were only punctuated by our breaths, I do remember sensing something spiritual being surrounded by so much frozen water. It has been more than a few decades sense but I still remember being conscious about a difficult to describe sensation – more than the fear that the tunnels may cave in on top of us…
Through my 20’s and 30’s, I made a point of always living near the beach with access to a pool having moved to California when I was 24. The number of laps I swam in easily in six figures and when I discovered underwater hockey when I was 39, I was ready for a change. Played with a 12 inch stick, mask fin and snorkel, I have found underwater hockey to be a stimulating way to get a workout. “Mano a mano” underwater I have spent may evenings purging myself of all the frustrations and anxieties of the day. It is a high cardio way to cleanse your essence in the water. Playing regularly for the last 20 years has tallied up an easy 2500 of those days.
Having young kids was also a great excuse for outings to the beach and the pool. I’ve logged thousands of water days there as well. Now that my kids are out of the house, I still get to the beach and the pool regularly. Summers are particularly sweet when I can head over to the ocean and ride some waves on the Surf-Grip.
There is also a spiritual aspect to the water that I have become increasingly aware of. The body is 90% water and when someone dies, their essence evaporates and lives forever in the oceans, rivers, pools and bodies of water. A case can be made that the ocean is made up of billions of ancestors. Stay with me on this one, it is eternal life although not perhaps what some of the organized religions suggest. Our essence disperses and travels through the world and becomes part of a collective consciousness that while it does not communicate directly to me, I have gained many insights from the time I have spent in the water. Many people have some of their best ideas in the shower so perhaps water does work in mysterious ways.
The ocean is the source of all the water on the planet and a frequent pilgrimage for me and over the years I have grown in respect for the power and the relentlessness of the surf. It humbles me that the ocean has the power to shape continents and that most of our time in the ocean is spent on the edge. The meeting of land and water has created a push and pull effect resulting in the waves that we ride. Time spent in the ocean certainly inspired the development of a device to ride longer and higher waves. That device is the Surf-Grip and it has become an instrument for becoming one with and paying homage to the ocean.
We would be honored if you joined us in our homage of water and bought a Surf-Grip in our Store.