For the first time in years, I recently entered a swimming pool. It’s not that I don’t like swimming. I have just done all my swimming and wading and splashing in the natural environments of oceans, rivers, lakes and streams. My parents taught my brother and I how to swim before we could even walk. We spent our childhood summers at the pool or with a season pass to the Atlanta waterpark, “White Water.”
A swimming pool is no foreign thing to me. But, after choosing to swim in the wild, gritty, free flowing waters for so many years; the swimming pool seemed like a strange and alien place. Don’t get me wrong. We had a fantastic time playing together as a family. It was a great change of pace and there’s nothing like a water slide. But, let me tell you about the difference that you might not even notice if you frequent swimming pools. I certainly never took notice until now.
The swimming pool is empty. Even with water, it feels empty compared to the natural environments teeming with life, with color. It is as if people have removed all the senses of a rich environment and captured only this one essence and separated it from the rest. The smell of the ocean, the muddy colors of the lake, the sound of the rushing river, the push & pull of currents, the gritty or soft or thickness of the water. There is no sand to feel washing away from underneath you. No clay or mud to dig your toes into or rocks underfoot.. There is no life to behold.. no creatures, or insects, or plant life to discover and examine. There’s no weathered wood drifting from wherever it fell into the water. And, how often do you see the beautiful photos of a sun setting over the swimming pool?
For me, there was a missing connection, when I stepped into that pool. A connection that I get every time I feel the waves crash against me and the ocean pull at my legs and feet. A connection I get when I listen to the cool mountain streams flowing down the mountains… the motion of the water carved into the face of the planet. A connection that envelops me with the smells and sounds of the wide variety of life on earth.
I guess if you don’t revisit the places & things you’ve abandoned, on occasion, you may not realize what you have gained.