There is a pool. It is not mine, but for now, it is mine. I have stood under the midday sun stroking the pool’s floor with a strange vacuum that sucks up the slimy stuff and leaves clean behind, but until today, three weeks in to my month long exile in this beautiful place, I felt no affinity for the pool.
Though I’ve tended to its needs, I never put a toe into it until yesterday when the heat blackmailed me into dipping my body into the water that is clearly not my element. And my conversion was so complete that today, I was actually disappointed to hear the rumble of thunder when I went back, ready to give myself to the pool again.
My relationship with water is not altogether clear cut. No right angles or black lines about it. Though it is not my element of natural affinity, I love rain. Soft rain, steady rain, torrential rain, storms of any kind. I also love the ocean. I fear the ocean. I succumb to the ocean, but awkwardly. My children tease me for the uncomfortable way I enter and exit the surf. But when I am held up by the gentle mountains of water during the quiet tide, I feel the emptiness of space enter me.
Lying there atop the swells, I think about the way every inch of my world is full of something tangible. People, coffee pots, computers, wooden spoons, grassy fields, forested mountains, huge oceans and an atmosphere of gassy atoms that sneak in to every cell of my body without my knowing it.
Water does not change any of that, obviously, but the way it seems to defy physics by lifting my weight off my feet and cradling me—doesn’t that seem like an open door to all possibility, even emptiness?
The good emptiness of naked space and naked time.
When I was young, the future was empty, for I had not invented it yet. I still have a future and I am still inventing it, but the space that the future inhabits seems less empty. Not to mention all the trajectories of my already-lived time. They shoot out possible futures ahead of me like laser beams.
Lying in water, even a swimming pool, lets me for a moment feel the space of time yawning at my fingertips, full of possibility.
Words and color, images, music, even my spirit guides – the intangibles that fill the spaces that are not spaces – have a chance to enter my head when my eyes are closed, my ears muffled by the water and my body lifted improbably by a substance I can drink, or that can disappear into a mound of sand.