I found a shiny new toy this week; nestled in among the darkness of a fading winter and personal disappointment. Something bright blue, long, thin and somewhat slimy.
I traipsed off to my 5:45 a.m. water class Tuesday [ok, I don't get there til 6 so I can see my oldest before she flits off to junior high way too early for anyone to attempt functioning, particularly teenagers] after a couple of restless nights, so my eyes were barley pried open and I hadn't yet tested my froggy morning voice. I slipped in, stretched, then joined the class fluttering up and down the pool.
Usually I shine here, zooming past everyone. I overheard two women saying, "well she's always fast because she swims so much" as they – much to my amazement – overtook me. "Were they on drugs, had they attached motors to themselves?" I wondered. Apparently my puzzlement and eventual moment of clarity were visible to all. My body loosened as a trapped cat of a laugh escaped upon noticing their fins swishing behind them. FINS. They were whisping up and down the lanes with plastic appendages that propelled them as if on air. They offered me the third pair and, being game for any new water toy, I complied and was soon creating waves behind me.
I took off physically, mentally and emotionally casting off everything else, including the disillusionment of the previous week. This unexpected gift was, definitely, a deal breaker. More a mood breaker. The experience lightened everything and was the levity I had been secretly, and unknowingly, craving.
Who'd a thunk?
I kept the form-fitting fish feet on until the bitter end, not wanting to let go of my Cinderella-shoes. I worked hard, experiencing it in places I had forgotten existed. Any pain was replaced with waves of energy and exhilaration. It reminded me of when the water was new to me five years ago. When I didn't take it for granted, trudging off for my usual chore of laps [which never leaves me feeling like it was a chore]. Kinda like being a kid and, well, exploring all the possibilities of a new toy.
I wonder how many other toys have been strewn across my path that I failed to notice. Not this one, this time. Now I dream of all the new possibilities with fins instead of dwelling on the darkness of the past.
• When was the last time I discovered a new toy?
• How'd it make me feel?
• Can I really recall what that was like as a child?
• How can opening up the possibilities shift us?
• How can I nurture that joyful, childlike openness in myself?
dragging myself from the darkness,
eyes merely slits
sleep still too close
slipping into the familiar silky warmth
body wakes with movement
trading one bed for another
surging into the flow
muscles remember themselves
and something seems askew
head shakes, eyes squint
and a question mark hovers,
soon replaced by childish longing
for the new toy
that makes ALL the difference