No fear. No worry of consequences.

This season is one of a lot of nostalgic memories for me due to random contacts with the public through my work. I received more photos from community, private swim clubs in the past two months than I have in the past five summers combined to run in the newspaper. That is cool. It is one of the favorite parts of my job – community interaction and everyone sharing snapshots and insights into their wonderful, mundane, and inspiring daily lives.

The photos themselves remind me of the summers I spent from age 14 to 18 or 20 working at the swim club my parents belonged to. I went from maintenance boy to lifeguard to assistant manager there. I met my first crush there and made my first long time friends. I loved my swim club. The place was a haven for a socially awkward and scared teenager to start figuring out who he was.

The photos obviously have me waxing philosophically. I’m also working through a few cross roads now that make me naturally reflective. It’s what I do as I start moving forward toward something new, look back towards comfortable and happier times.

Then there was the last post about water and meditation. Swim club days, living around a pool, remind me there is something so symbolic and powerful about water.

So many songs reference heat and water and swimming on the radio lately too. Bruce Springsteen’s “The River,” Smog’s “The Well,” and  Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime.” Then my personal favorite dealing with bodies of water, REM’s “Night Swimming” played on the radio as I drove home tonight and really got this post going.

I was a rebel and trespasser and a few other things as a teen working at that swim club. On more than one occasion I slipped under the fence surrounding the pool with friends, stripped down and swam when I wasn’t supposed to. There were all those first fears of getting caught, then abandonment, and finally the freedom of the act itself.

Michael Stipe so captured the essence of night swimming and then it’s shift in meaning after growing up. The song at once makes my heart ache for those times again, and settle into an appreciative state for having had them.

Here is to “Night Swimming” (and yes, it does deserve a quiet night):


2 thoughts on “Freedom

  1. One of my favorite songs. I have similar teenage memories. I think tampering with the taboo is a rite of passage that we all go thru at some point.

    • I agree. Finding boundaries and living dangerously, when in reality what I did was some of the most tamest and typical stuff. Good times.

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