Monday, June 3, 2013


Moving your body through water seems second nature to me. I was lucky enough to have the ocean and swimming pools available to me all my life. Throw a baby into the water and he or she will naturally start to paddle.
In the ocean I would get tossed about but always caught by an adult. In a pool, I was strapped into an orange floating vest and could splash about but I wanted to get under the water.
Showing I was really a child of an amphibian, I would unhook my restraints and dive underwater. At the end of the day I would sleep well, even with chlorine eyes.
The ocean was different. Choppy water on top turned to currents underwater. Trying to see underwater churned by waves was difficult if not impossible without a mask. Then the ocean would suck you up in its tow and roll you up on shore. Having terrible eyesight to begin with, I would always find myself some distance from my starting point.
I took a friend, who is a mountain person, to the ocean. He was knocked down a couple of time by the waves. “You’ve got to respect her.” I said. Years later, a young lady got into a rip current and started wandering out to sea. I knew what it was and brought her sobbing face back to the shore.
There are certain restrictions to swimming in a pool so I had to prove I could move through the water to be allowed in the “deep end”. Several laps back and forth and I was certified to swim in 12’ deep water under the watchful eyes of lifeguards.
Still little boys love to swim underwater. We got mask and flippers and snorkels to swim below the others in the pool. We envisioned ourselves as WWII frogmen or deep-sea scuba divers like “Sea Hunt”.
One unfortunate day, a buddy of mine and I were diving for pearls or removing mines or searching for mermaids. I came to the surface and took off my mask looking for my friend. Since my eyes don’t see well on good day, I swam over to where my brother was paying more attention to his girlfriend than me and put on my glasses. “Did you see Jack?” I asked. Then there was a scream and a blur of excitement. The lifeguards leaped from their white towers into the murky water and pulled out a limp body. It was Jack. His mother came running out of the country club bar as the panicked lifeguards tried all their life saving techniques they had never practiced.
At the end of the day, an elementary class was preparing for a funeral of a classmate.
I still appreciate being around water. Maybe, if I’m able enough, I will bury myself at sea?

Sit beside the breakfast table
Think about your troubles
Pour yourself a cup of tea
And think about the bubbles
You could take your teardrops
And drop them in a teacup
Take them down to the riverside
And throw them over the side
To be swept up by a current
And taken to the ocean
To be eaten by some fishes
Who were eaten by some fishes
And swallowed by a whale
Who grew so old, he decomposed
He died and left his body
To the bottom of the ocean
Now everybody knows
That when a body decomposes
The basic elements
Are given back to the ocean
And the sea does what it ought'a
And soon there's salty water
(Not too good for drinking)
'Cause it tastes just like a teardrop
(So we run it through a filter)
And it comes out from the faucet
(And pours into a teapot)
Which is just about to bubble
Think about your troubles.
Thax Harry

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