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  • Writer's pictureDana Webster

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Photo courtesy of Meacham

I am, shall we say, uncomfortable around large bodies of water. Probably like most people I drowned in a past life because when I'm near an ocean or Great Lake, a scared little inside part of me panics. Don't even ask me about the 10-day honeymoon cruise Paul and I bailed on after 3 days. It seemed like a good idea at the time, adventurous even. (Okay, you can ask me; it actually makes for a good story).

And yet, every summer I crave a lake swim. Swimming pools with their concrete and chlorine just don't cut it. I need real unadulterated water to wade into and breast stroke my way through. Those slimy, weedy things are okay as long as they are over there and not where I am swimming. A sandy bottom on which I can place my bare feet is heaven but I will don water shoes if that can't be arranged.

I spent my childhood summers swimming: a month of sleepover camp on Lake Kashagawigamog in Haliburton and the other month at our (hobby) Farm in Holland Centre. I am a strong swimmer, floater, and sculler. I have no fears of drowning ... in bodies of water that are generally calm and inviting.

But give me a wave and, ack! That time in Mexico when a 60-footer (exaggeration alert) crashed over me, curled me in like a pig-in-a-blanket and spit me out a mile down the beach from where I'd been frantically trying to outrun/outswim it. My bikini bottoms were so weighted down with sand that they hung down between my legs like a baby's full diaper.

Crazy aside about that Mexico trip: my friend, Mary, and I decided to go parasailing (big, big mistake) where we had to go pretty far out into the ocean, to the place where the waves hadn't even begun to build so very, very deep, I asked our guide, in Spanish, "¿Hay tiburones allí?" (Are there sharks out there?) to which he gave a nervous chuckle then confidently responded, "No, no, están muy lejos en otro lugar." (No, they are way out there somewhere else) and waved his arm vaguely toward the middle of the ocean.

Needless to say, I don't get the allure of surfing.

Lake Huron Photo courtesy of Paul

Reason I'm telling you all this is because, contrary to lessons learned from past aquatic experiences, Paul and I have recently purchased a lovely vacation property in Goderich which overlooks Lake Huron, a massive Great Lake for which I have fallen madly in love. Who knew this could happen? I saw the water, saw the beach, kicked off my shoes and waded in. It felt like home.

Now, when we come, the first thing I want to do is hit the boardwalk and say hello again to my new friend. As in Mono, I look forward to all the seasons in the Hockley Valley, in Goderich, I can't wait to see how the Lake changes or stays the same from Fall to Winter to Spring to Summer.

In a world gone mad and ugly, the Lake reminds me that timelessness is real and beautiful. Waves in, waves out, waves in, waves out. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

Interested in my original prose?

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