Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Today is the first day of summer.  For the next few months we'll relish the miracle of air conditioning, seek the shade, fill up our little pool, hydrate hourly and paddle our kayak in the hope that we'll feel even the slightest breeze.  Just when I'm suffering under the anvil of a noontime sun and dense, suffocating humidity, I will remember how I spent the last three weeks of spring.

This month we paddled our kayak on the pristine waters of  Hamlin Lake, where shores are protected, fish are plentiful and giant white swans perform a graceful water dance, making playful circles around their fuzzy gray cygnets.  In our boat, heavily burdened with three adults and a 75 lb dog, we shakily made our way out into the expansive blue of Lake Michigan, where seagulls dove and squawked above our heads.  Near the mouth of a river that spills into the largest of the Great lakes, we stopped for a swim. This body of fresh clear water allows one to swim with eyes wide open, where fish are magnified and the sandy bottom slumbers in a wavy motion, swishing slightly with the touch of our toes.  On the beach, all sound is muffled.  We sat with glistening droplets of water on our skin, marveling in the silence and the endless blue upon blue horizon.  Families with young children splashed nearby, but it was as if we were in the middle of a silent film.

This month we walked along a bay and into a harbor on Lake Huron, where gentle breezes lift all the hair on one's head with each swirling whoosh of air.  A few people were out, making us feel connected to society, yet far removed from the congestion and impatient striving of our bustling city.

This month we also jumped into the rolling, crashing waves of the Atlantic, tasting the salt on our lips and feeling the rub of exfoliating sand.

This month we drove over bridges spanning the Abermale Sound, where last year we pulled blue crabs out of their hiding places using string and turkey necks.

This month we've also paddled out into our city's reservoir, where swimming and construction are not allowed.  We also swam with our friends at the local pool, and shared a crowded splash at the Y.

Summer has just begun, and already I have lived this season to the fullest, seeking relief in bodies of water.  So much that was troubling me has now been washed away.  This month I've dived down deep, floated along, struggled against the current, held my breath, splashed about, submerged my being, touched the bottom and rose to the surface for air.

I have also discovered that sometimes, the most heavenly body of water can be found inside one's bathtub at home.  While my senses and my soul have been refreshed and recharged from travel, the bathtub at home is the perfect temperature for my overheated suntanned skin, a perfect sanctuary from the elements of sun and wind.  Here there are no sharks or jellyfish, no rip currents or stray fish hooks.  There are no sharp rocks or shells to scrape the bottom of one's feet, nor careless souls who let their dogs pee on the sandcastle you built with your son.  There is only peace and quiet and cool refreshment.


  1. And Jenny, your post brought light to me this morning. This is such lovely, evocative writing. It made me feel as if I'd been there with you, experiencing the delight and refreshment that is water. I loved this oasis this morning as I sit in a hotel lobby at yet another conference, the city traffic already intruding in my thoughts. I'll be thinking of water today-

    1. Hi Shelly! It was a joy to return home and find you here. I'm happy that you felt refreshed and inspired. Please look for a message on fb from me soon.

  2. Water cleanses and heals, dear Jenny. Your exhilarating experiences up at the lakes this spring reminded me of my childhood when I spent most of the warm weather season submerged in various bodies of water. Maybe it's because of my water sign, Scorpio, but I remember being one of the few kids in my circle of friends that really felt at home in H2O. While my friends held their noses, plugged their ears, closed their eyes and cautiously stepped in feet first, I eagerly jumped or dove in, swam great distances underwater and kept my eyes wide open or used goggles so that I wouldn't miss any of the amazing sights down there. I am so glad to know that you and your family had this opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and restore your spirits. Happy WW to you, dear Jenny!

  3. What a marvelous post. I too felt as though I were there with you. Your writings are always so inspiring. I too am fond of all bodies of water, fresh or salt. From surfing in the Pacific ocean to swimming in the crystal clear waters of snow fed streams, I like shady jumped or dove in head first and eyes wide open to marvel at the underwater life. Thank you for sharing and hope you and yours enjoy a wonderful summer ahead.

  4. Forgive me Shady, for not cappin' "Shady". Proof read, proof read, proof read! Zinser "On Writing Well". UGH!

  5. What a beautiful post! There's nothing like a cool refreshing swim - or bath - in the summer. Sometimes I dream I'm swimming and I can hear how the water sounds in my ears. I think it's a universal thing, this love of water. It's why we're always so drawn to it. Happy summer!

  6. Oh your post made me smile today...nothing like your own little spa get away, closing the bathroom door and enjoying time spent with a rubber ducky or two, or three!
    So glad your summer is shaping up to be delightful!


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