In common waters we come, kicking and spitting through waves we will always share. I like the way the couple in the lane next to me swims. They pass through the pool with a quick grace. He leads in the start of their routine, she follows swiftly catching up measured lengths. My glasses off, I am wondering who she is, who he is, who they are. I probably don't know in the first place. I saw a lifeguard I have spoken to, but other than a few people, I pass inconspicuous so far. The intention was to do water aquatics but I arrived a half hour early wanting to escape conversation at home. Maybe today is not the day to socialize, I decide after lap 9, a turning point for my swim routine as it has been this year. As the guards change places, and my acquaintance goes to teach the next class, I part the waters with a clear commitment to swim 36 laps, my first consecutive mile this year.

I had chosen to do a shorter routine before. I had aimed at about 9 laps per swim, just enough to get some buoyancy, to pump a little blood, and have done something good for me. But now I realize I have been bored with that plan. It was a hope to get me to the pool but the joy of the swim was frankly falling asleep. My blood wasn't pumping much at all after 9 laps, which was why I wasn't swimming often enough either. My hope today becomes to push my limits and challenge myself with swimming again, that itself I hope to be the lure that calls me back to the pool, which happens to be my favorite place to be, so it shouldn't be so difficult.

A note on bathing suits. Some people might wonder, I am a heavy lady, is it the suiting up that keeps me from swimming. The answer has always been no. I am a heavy lady, and a bit of a naturist. I am glad to get my clothes off and put on the scant article that shows most of my flesh. It's just my nature. The issue is motivation and temperament. Sometimes I think about the pool a bit too much. Water goes in my nose and I think, ah yes, what a unique mix of semen, excrement, detritus, snot, and spit. You get the picture. But this pool is the hallowed place. This pool is where we all come together and become just human. This disabled woman swims beside the doctor and nobody knows or cares. Lapping along, nobody even thinks about the barriers that separate us. We all are trying to do something, our own goal, our own triumph, our mile or 9 laps, or hour - whatever.

I start thinking about my mile in terms of a familiar walk, the dog walk I like to do in the morning with Tobin and Brazen. I am swimming along, visualizing the walk I take through the cemetery and my back yard. I'll inform you, the swim is much slower than the walk. I can't speak for everyone, but it take me an hour at least to swim the mile. It's been a while, and I am slowing down as I imagine myself walking up the hill of the cemetery. I see the same birds in my mind's eye who circled this morning, near the two pine trees just past the catalpa tree. I rejoice all over again when Brazen pees and poops, as indoor dog parents like to let our animals do their thing. In my mind, I pass the time reading grave stones I recall from this morning. I know each passing leaf and the feel of the gravel under my feet. Then of course, I open my goggles, rinse out the scummy coating, and also feel the wonderful water, and see the world that actually surrounds me.

I will try the water aquatics class another day. Today I am pumped just to move my legs and arms, and do my own thing for an hour in this pool. In the dressing room, I talk to a woman who works with a disabled, mobility challenged woman in a wheelchair. She is glad to have a job that forces her into the pool each day. I don't work, I am disabled too. I should think of this time as something I need to do, as if it were my job, just as this woman does. Health is everything.