Saturday, 31 October 2015

Swimming in the Pond

I went for a swim this evening in my pond on the farm . Its about 5pm and the last light is slowly fading from the sky. There is a slight orange glow towards the south west, the  lights of the town are on and sparkle in the evening twilight. I come from my yoga practise warm and alive, head upstairs and don my red dressing gown, grab my week's swimming towel and convince/nay tell  my body it's going for a swim . Perhaps I should mention that it's the 31st of October, the evening is a relatively balmy 10 degrees centigrade and the water is the same. I walk down by the geese who have settled in for the evening and then past the hens hearing the odd contented cluck as I pass, one last tardy hen, runs towards me in the ever hopeful quest for food. I pass on, Mac my dog a border collie, runs ahead in delight knowing whats coming, tail up and waving like a banner in the wind. I follow the path to enlightenment or at least to the ponds edge, slip off my crocs shed my red dressing gown, dump my towel at a convenient spot on top of a rush bush.

I slip into the waters feeling the mud squashing between my toes . The pond is dark and still, almost mysterious, edged round with the centurion swords of the bull rush. The water is deep and solemn  and I breast stroke forward. I feel the coolness of it sliding down the sides of my body I imagine it meeting in a v shape between by shoulder blades before rushing down my back in the moment of immersion.  My fingers cut the waters creating a perfect minor bow wave that ripples through the oily silkiness of the water, far away in the distance I notice the first firework of the evening explode into the silence of the  night. The pond is hidden amongst the rushes and even though I am quite close to a neighbours house I take immense secret pleasure in knowing that they do not have a clue that I am  swimming in the pond on the last night in October less than 50 feet from their door. It feels remote and timeless. As I swim the weeds of the pond sensuously brush the under parts of my torso and caress my arms bringing me back into my body and the moment. Swimming like this immerses me in death, swimming  elementally, silently, eyes level with the white stems of the majestic bull rushes , ceremonially I dip my face in the water and feel its stinging rebuke, eyes open looking to the endless gloom, whooshing the breath from my chest and the blood from my extremities. Gradually it happens the inital withdrawal of blood from the hands and feet, the numbing of my crotch, very slowly the water ceases to be cold and begins to feel hot against my skin. I smile and relax and journey inwards oblivious to cold, time, I hear nothing I see nothing I am the velvety darkness of nowhere , the edges of my body merged with the water and I am the body I am the water. I am nowhere I am everywhere.

At the edge of the rushes I notice a little moor hen watching this intrusive stranger with its curios warm brown eyes hardly moving,  we  look one at the other, a heart beat apart and an eternity  between us. A pale moon sails momentarily out from behind a cloud and drenches the pond in a deluge of moonlight,  two bats flit close to the surface, these fly collecting creatures of the night soon disappeared. I am in the pond but not of the pond I witness myself gliding serenely around and around . A loud rustle in the rushes and my dog Mac's head appears, quizzically held as he contemplates me , I swim on by.

I start to shiver and come back into my body and know its time to come ashore. Again my feet squelch the mud and I notice the sharp feel of the spiky grass under my knees as I haul myself out . I towel myself hard all over, momentarily I stand upright naked in the moon light and know that I  am  the very essence of my being.

The pond