It has been awhile since my last update. I had a crisis of faith, of sorts, I suppose. I had set solid fitness and dance goals, simply to take me through Labor Day Weekend... and I crashed and burned mentally - and a little bit physically, as well.
I felt overwhelmed. There is a difference between eagerly hurrying to the pool, for the pleasure of slicing through the water for 50 or 60 laps... and knowing and dreading the 105 or so laps it takes to make a mile. Procrastinating, then hurrying to fit it in before dark, or bad weather, and feeling anxious.
These last weeks have been a period of physical adjustment, where my body - particularly my neck and shoulders - has had to cope with stiffness, muscle fatigue and joint fatigue. I feel these are growing pains - building muscle, and having to re-stretch everything out, make everything pliable for dance. And as for dance - just ballet at the moment - there has also been the adjustments of strengthening the feet and ankles, and loosening up the hip joints. For every class, or every session at home, there is a recovery period that happens that involves some fatigue and some soreness. It's a good fatigue, and a good soreness - but it is also a reminder that physical changes and improvements take time.
On top of everything else, there is my acting technique to be worked on, and my singing. And writing.
Labor Day came and went. I swam 80 laps on Monday, some of it in a steady rain. It was joyous and sad at the same time. I never had a regular 'Labor Day' thing, but this was our second poolside brunch that we've organized, and it had a definite sense of farewell, to summer, to evenings on hot patios sipping cool drinks, to that abandoned sort of silliness that only seems to happen when it is over 90 outside and the cicadas are singing. Everyone has returned to school, to work projects, to rushing around with their kids, to a lot hurry and stress. Here I sit, on the riverbank, like the Water Rat, as the birds prepare to fly south. The days are markedly shorter now, the trees are preparing to drop leaves (some have already started), and the air has an ever-so-slightly crispness.
Yesterday, I went to the pool, and it was positively divine. The sun shone down hotly, and the water wasn't too cold, despite days of rain. I swam 62 laps without stopping. When I did stop, it was to stretch my neck and shoulders, and I knew I was done for the day. So I took time to just enjoy my surroundings. I swam around underwater, looking at everything inside the pool - the patterns of light on the floor, the fallen leaves and sticks, how the trees look, viewed from under the water.
I got out of the pool, and sat on the side, with my feet still in, and watched the butterflies wander past, and listened to the breeze murmuring in the trees.
I have learned so much this summer. I learned, a little better, how to let go and live in the moment. I learned, a little better, how to let go of some of the stress. I've learned that by getting rid of the superfluous things in my life, I am making room for peace and creativity and finding more time to give to the people I love.
The pool will likely close after this weekend, and I will eventually find other pools to swim in for the winter. Not just yet, though. Flamenco classes begin this week, and I want to incorporate that into my schedule, without feeling overwhelmed.
While we're talking about water... I recently discovered an Antonio Carlos Jobim song that I was not familiar with, The Waters of March. I absolutely love it, and I am learning it. If you are not familiar with Jobim, he wrote 'The Girl from Ipanema', and 'Agua de Beber', which was one of the first bossa nova pieces I learned to play on the drums.
"And the river bank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the end of the strain,
It's the joy in your heart"
It is September, but at this moment, my life feels like this song. Here is a recording by Susannah McCorkle, which has both the Portuguese and English lyrics.