It’s an annual moment I wait 10 months to experience. After a long, cold winter, a finicky spring, and a Memorial Day weekend, the local pool finally opens for the season.
This year, as I made my way into the little kids’ end of the pool, the water on my feet, then ankles, then shins was cold to the point of nearly unbearable. It took all I could do not to turn around and leave, forfeiting the $2 discounted admission for evening-swim hours.
But I noticed the few other brave souls who had taken the plunge and not perished. And I thought of my literary mentor, Joyce Maynard, whose routine includes early-morning swims – naked – in deep, cold lakes in the New Hampshire woods each summer.
OK. I’ll stay.
To my surprise and amazement, once I just did it and dunked under, my body actually adjusted. A weird exchange is made: Suddenly it felt warmer in the water than out.
This year is different. There are no more morning water aerobics classes or evening YMCA-instructed work-out sessions offered. I should be happy the pool is even open, and I am. City pools seem to struggle for survival. The YMCA pool in a nearby city is no longer in operation. Our town pool went through some choppy waters to stay afloat and now carries a hospital sponsorship.
Pools take a lot of money to operate. Doesn’t help that they are only open two months a summer now because the kids return to school at the start of August. Always seems such a shame to see that shimmering pool on 100-degree August days, empty of patrons.
Water exercise is fins down my favorite. I detested running even when I was young and only a little fat. But in the water there is no sweating and I almost love it. So this summer I’m devising my own water workouts. A little running in place (no sweat); a couple minutes of rotating like a washing machine; some stretching on the wall, dog paddling forward, then back. The point is to just keep moving. And moving. I feel looser, more flexible almost instantly. And I sure sleep better too.
There are several times I can go. If I’m home, there’s the morning option, and I’m done for the day, plus a tad chilly for the rest of the day. I don’t go during the kids’ prime time in the day, but can also choose to go late in the afternoon for two bucks, or take the late option from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m., also cheap, but not my favorite hour as there are swim-team kids to work around in one area and some swim lessons going in others.
I’m just glad the pool is open and for two months, I’m in it often.