I’m sitting on the beach watching the lake, considering a chunky dunk even though it isn’t all that warm yet. It’s May, but this has been a cold, wet spring. It would be a CCD, for sure. (Chilly Chunky Dunk). I take off my hikers and socks, roll up my jeans and take my ankles in for a test dip.
Yikes. CCD, for sure.
(A young woman comes to the beach and has a skinny dip – a CSD – and as I listen to her gasp and wheeze as she sprints for her clothes, I know I made the right decision.)
But I wonder.
What if this is the last time I ever see my lake? Will I lay on my death bed wondering why I didn’t jump in one last time? Will I have the luxury of time for such reflection? Or will I just be gone?
I have been thinking about death a lot lately. Not in a hide-in-the-house kind of a way. It’s more of a savour-every-moment thing.
I swim in this lake almost every day in the summer, and every year, at the end of August and beginning of September, I swim each swim with the knowledge that it might be the last swim of the season. Our summers often end abruptly, as if following some divine stage directions. Fade to cool, cue rain, and, exit.
So, I savour each of those late-season swims in particular. I stop, float on my back and fill my lungs with gratitude. I whisper good-bye each time, just in case. I send out my silent love letter to the lake.
Earlier today, my partner and I talked about grief, change, letting go – and how much easier letting go is when you have a sense of completion. Whether you are saying good-bye to a person, a job, a place, an era of your life, or the lake, moving on is easier if you know that you have done all you can. That you have said everything you needed to say, taken every swim you could, and more importantly, savoured each one.
I hope that it won’t be just the end-of-season swims that will be special this year, but each and every one. And if one of those swims ends up being my last, I can let go knowing that I enjoyed every minute, every stroke, every ray of sunshine, every splash and laugh.
Easy enough – I love swimming more than just about anything.
But today I am wondering about how to do better with savouring other things in my life. I’m wondering how to bring that same appreciation to housework. I suppose it starts with recognizing the huge gift in housework— I have a house! Or in yard work because, I have a yard! Or in cooking, and laundry, and everything that I do routinely and by rote, without stopping to really think about what it means. I want to stand amazed by every daily and ordinary joy* and the abundance dwelling in each.
It's laundry day at my house today. So, my friends, if it also happens to be laundry day at your house, I offer my sincere congratulations!
(*I borrowed this phrase from Barbara Kingsolver who wrote it in a book inscribed to my partner, circa 2010.)
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