Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ducks and Stars

Last night, or rather at 1:10 this morning, it was too hot to sleep. So I lay in bed worrying about things, and worrying about other things, and worrying about some more things.

When I was a kid, on nights like this, my cousin and I used to slip out of the house and walk barefoot down to the swimming hole in the creek (about a mile away) and go swimming in the dark.

Too bad I can't do that now, I thought, tossing and turning.

Anyway, it's September, I added. You don't swim in September in upstate New York.

And then I worried some more about other things, including being too old and sensible to go swimming at one o'clock in the morning, which basically means never doing anything fun ever again, and then...

...And then I stopped tossing and turning. I got up, and got dressed, and went down to the park by the lake. Some ducks quacked a sleepy protest, but no one else was around. I stepped into the lake. The water was cold, but only just. I swam like a kid, not for exercise, but just for the glorious feeling of being afloat, of moving through a foreign element, of almost-flying.

The Milky Way arched overhead. A satellite crept across the sky. The lake was silent and still except for the ducks. I was far enough from shore now that the world was only the lake, and stars, and ducks. I trod water for a while.

When I turned and swam back to shore, I sat on the edge of the water for a bit, not wanting to leave. (As a concession to being an adult, I had kept my clothes on.)

But the ducks were annoyed, and the night didn't feel so warm anymore, and so I went home, and went back to bed...

...and didn't worry at all.


  1. That was beautiful. I can picture the whole thing (and I imagined you with clothes on, but thanks for clarifying). Thanks for sharing.

    1. lol-- thanks! I think I had some vague idea that in a bathing suit I would've looked like some odd person swimming at 1 am, but in everyday clothes I could always claim to have fallen in :-)