Thursday, March 11, 2010

Water and Me

This post isn’t about invasive species, sick lakes, or the lack of drinking water in earthquake zones. It is not about the climate or the weather. It is not about how people in the Great Lakes think or talk or behave, nor about land formations in the Great Lakes Basin. Today I am not paying attention to diverted water, polluted water or the water cycle. The topic of the day is water and me.

About a year ago, I wrote about my ecosystem and reported how I watch the water near my house on a daily basis. I still do that, but recently I have added another dimension to my relationship with water. I started to swim again. Today’s thoughts about water have more to do with that immersion.

I learned to swim at summer camp when I was nine years. My greatest pleasure in the summer was that I could go swimming, either in the neighborhood pool or at Lake Erie beaches. But as I got older, I didn’t swim much, and more recently, there probably have been summers when I didn’t swim at all. Remember, Lake Michigan stays cold well into August and whereas the water doesn’t have to be Caribbean warm, I don’t like it cold, either. So swimming was relegated to brief dips in hotel pools or an occasional lake.

But our local YMCA built a new pool, and I decided to get back into the swim of things. The first time I went in, I was only able to do a quarter of a mile, but did that 17 lengths ever feel good. I felt like a kid again, and if you look at reasons that swimming is good for you, it isn’t hard to understand why. Swimming uses many muscles, but doesn’t put stress on joints and bones the way other activities do. It is good for your heart and lungs, and that it burns a fair number of calories per mile (one source I saw quoted 3cal/mile/pound of bodyweight) is a definite plus.

Here’s an odd thing. There is actually an entry in Wikipedia on swimming pools. It tells you what a swimming pool is, that a pool open to the public is called a public swimming pool and one closed to the public is called private. Imagine that! It also provides a history of the swimming pool, describes the several variations of them such as a whirlpool or infinity pool, where to find the biggest pool, and how to care for your pool. If you are interested check it out.

Me? I am more interested on how I feel after a half hour in water - a little desiccated but a lot relaxed. I feel healthier and more energetic. It doesn’t have to be the Hot Springs or Baden Baden for water to be curative. Water is restorative, whether gazing out over a body of water or immersing yourself in it. It is a joy to swim, dive, splash, or just bob up and down in it. The whirlpool that I sit in following my swim is a pleasure, too.

By the way, a Google search for “Water and Me” led me to a site with water trivia facts and a lot of other good information about water. It’s designed for kids but adults might enjoy it, too.

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