Waving, Not Drowning

There are waves crashing in the canal of my left ear.  I have jumped, shaken, spun, and poked but not even gravity changed the tides.  In this muffled world with an ache soaring through my head, I now know for sure that I am a lousy swimmer. My form has never progressed from the inefficient half sinking/half gasping for air technique I developed as a kid.  Yesterday, I went swimming for over thirty minutes and finished with a baby pool of water trapped in my ear. 

Last weekend Tim and I accepted a generous invitation to escape to a beach house in the Coromandel Peninsula.  The bach [pronounced "batch," beach house] at Little Bay was tucked into a nick on the eastern coastline, about a three hour drive from Auckland.  The ride was an uneasy mix of beauty and motion sickness: lush green hills on one side, the Pacific Ocean on the other, and a long stretch of scary narrow winding gravel road. 

We arrived late at night and followed Simon, our host, down to the ocean.  I clung to Tim's sleeve like a child afraid of the dark, because I was, and together we carefully walked towards the water.  Without the context provided by daylight, the ocean at night is deceptively small.

In the morning, Simon and I went for a run in the bush [forest].  Our run started with a twenty-minute uphill climb on a dirt road.  I cannot remember the last time I pushed my body to such an extreme that someone had to tell me not to pass out.  I slowed to a pathetic shuffle-like jog and kept moving until we entered the bush.  Simon led the way, and away, as I did my best to keep him in sight and not fall. I failed at both my tasks. I lost the trail because it wasn't a trail -- it was a few broken blades of grass and random gaps between trees.  To my credit though, I only tripped once. 

Later that day, I [almost] cried while swimming in the ocean.  I am not a very good swimmer. So I waded in up to my knees and then walked out ...
Ah, quit being a baby.
Tim dragged me back into the waves, instructing me to either go up and over or under and through. Panic.  I did what I was told and made it out alive.


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