Simple Summer Swim
by Eric Alan
August 13, 2022 - 7:44am

One simple swim in a summer lake returns depth to my perspective. In mountain water under a wild sky, my reasons for living gratefully are instantly as clear as the water. It’s not a discovery, just a returning to center. It’s not a leaving behind of stress, as much as an arrival.


It reminds me of what a friend once told me, after arriving at a hot springs health sanctuary where I was then living. She said, “When I’m in in the city, I feel like I need to come to a place like this to heal. But when I arrive, I find I’m already healed.”


Yes. So many times in broken places, what seems to be our issue is actually a symptom of the context we’re in. We’re a mirror of our own world. So it’s vital to place ourselves in contexts that make sense, if only for fleeting moments.


A mountain lake makes more sense than a tangle of freeways. It’s primally closer to where we’re from, and who we’re meant to be. One moment in a summer lake, and I remember this.


If no lake is reachable, even placing my feet in a small stream can return the same amount of perspective. If no stream runs, then exploring the wonder of a vibrant leaf or blade of grass will do. A cloud passing over. A shred of moon that pierces the streetlights’ unforgiving glare. A trace of sunrise over a fractured city. A melody of laughter in a friend’s visit. The purring of a cat who will never read the news.


Solutions to our problems are frequently elusive, despite our sincere efforts to find them. We have a tendency to make our problems more complex by trying to solve them. With every step “forward,” we invent more complicated devices, scheme more complicated “solutions,” and forget the simplicity of where we came from. It often fixes nothing. Frequently our cleverness merely layers new troubles on top of the old ones.


I find solutions less elusive when I focus instead on finding enough presence and joy to just be with things as they are. This is not avoidance. It’s simply part of strange magic, where being with a problem is often what allows it to start to shift. Answers begin to organically emerge. Other times, being with simple beauty allows enough strength and balance to be with intractable issues, and still live a happy, meaningful life.


It’s not necessary to travel the globe to find peace. It’s not necessary to fix anything that’s broken, when too much is broken to be fixed anyway. It’s only necessary to care for each other, to remember the beauty coded in nature every day, to recall the joy in kindness to loved ones and strangers. We help each other as best we can.


For me, nothing is more restorative than one dive into mountain water, where gravity recedes, complication melts, and simplicity appears like an ethereal melody. All it takes is a day off, which is actually a day on, when nothing needs fixing for life to be rich. When I go for a swim, wholeness floats to the surface. Then I can take my wholeness back into broken places, more able to bring wholeness to others.


Today’s another summer day, time to enjoy long evening light while it fades. Will you join me?


Nancy Zahovon August 20, 2022 - 7:03pm


Renie Pooleon August 20, 2022 - 7:25pm

Simply reading this takes me back to the river I used to swim in, then later to the backyard pool. Even though it was just a swimming pool, our home in the country where the bright lights didn't reach and the traffic wasn't audible, was an oasis in the evening. Swimming under the night sky was so calming. Through your words I'm there again. Thank you.


Dick Durranceon August 24, 2022 - 5:03am

Lovely thought Eric!

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