I don’t actually SWIM at the Y.  People in other lanes do, I am happy to report: they kick their feet, stick their heads under water and up again to breathe at appropriate and necessary intervals, splash a little or a lot, frequently make wonderfully mysterious underwater turns, and usually move back and forth from one end of the pool to the other quite rapidly.

I, on the other hand, am there in the pool for quite a different purpose.  I keep my head above water at all times, the better to see and observe everything that is happening or that might potentially happen.  My eyes are sharp, my ears are clear, my senses are alert.  If, as occasionally happens, there is a pleasant lifeguard who is willing to converse while guarding, we chat a bit now and then as I do my languorous breast stroke.  If not, I sort of float along in a casual way, eventually reaching the wall and gracefully turning in a semi-circle to head back the other way.  Because there are no cell phones to ring for my attention, no little domestic tasks to nag at me, no computer nor other writing materials readily available to tempt me, and because it is so relaxing in the tepid water and I have half an hour to spend, I actually find myself thinking of  things that I might act on later on.  These ideas seem to bubble up readily only when I am in the pool and in no other place.  If I were keeping track systematically (which I am not), I would say that I have probably emerged from the water with a count of at least two ideas per swim.  I would be foolish to delude myself into thinking that each and every one of these ideas actually developed into a viable plan.  Sometimes they diminish in value or even dissipate completely by the time I have showered and dressed for the day, but somehow they all seem like epiphanies during my time in the pool.

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