24 November 2020: The Dive
As I lay in bed last night, it came to me: in twelve years, I have not lived for myself. My mind casts back in time, trying to determine the most recent moment that my being *existed* on its own terms. Yes, of course there are fleeting flashes of truth. The horror of fading that happened when my world crumbled out from under me in Madrid certainly comes to mind. There was dark in those moments, but there was also light; there was pure survival and carnal sensuality in those moments, often infused with raw in-the-moment delight.
For example, in those dark times, when nothing felt worthwhile, it helped to take the kids to the pool, where my senses could be full and want nothing more. Where there was no past or future – just the present moment.
The water was a true escape. At first entry, the shocking cold awakened every nerve ending at once. The sensation was all-consuming, blotting out sight, taste, smell, forcing my lungs to heave instinctually, and sending adrenaline prickles to my extremities.
Most of the time, I forward flipped to dive in, giving the sensation sharper intensity. These times, the whoosh was felt as much as heard – a feeling of suppressed and extended time as my equilibrium tumbled, leading to a gentle lower-stomach flutter. Simultaneously, water rushed into my ears and rendered silent those activities outside of the water while giving activities inside the water their own voice. Toys clanged. Pumps whirred. A swimmer’s arms splashed rhythmically in freestyle half the pool away.
It was best not to surface immediately; given a moment’s pause and some patience, the turbulent disruption's bubbles wound tantalizingly up my calves, thighs, across my stomach, up from clavicle to nape to scalp. I delighted in these little sensuous gifts. They were beautiful to watch, too: a swarm of prisms that swayed in perfect synchronization, seeking the surface and unity with mother air. From underneath, I watched them go…go…until they broke through in circular ripples that distorted my view of the tree above: an impressionist’s dream.
Because what is real? Real is not what happened today or what he said yesterday. Real is not moving to Albuquerque in June. I’m not trying to be some pretentious philosopher, but isn’t real what is now? Isn’t real what I am currently seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching? And when was the last time I gave myself wholly over to real?