Monday, August 07, 2006

Swimmin' Hole

Your post got me thinking about summer, and what that means to me, and how this summer hasn't really felt like much of a summer at all - and why that might be.

Normally, during the summer we are at our most active. Kayaking, rafting, barbequeing, hiking and climbing and being all wet and sandy and smelly and sunburned. This summer hasn't been so much like that.

This summer has been just the pure drudgery of roofing weekend after weekend.*

This weekend, though, we knocked off work early on saturday and went to our town swimming hole. And it was a pure delight.

It's a small swimming hole, just a deep bend in a creek really. But it's deep enough to jump into and warm enough that you can still breathe when you surface for air.

When we got there, a father was standing on shore watching his two daughters and their dog fool around in the water. The girls were little - just nine and six, I'm guessing. They wore little sporty bikinis, sandals and - in the case of the younger girl - a huge snorkeling mask.

The older sister was all limbs and suntan and the younger sister was all belly and wet, rat-tailed hair. While the eldest was comanding the dog to come here and go there, the younger was prattling on to us about how they'd found an amphibian with its tail still attached and how we should be extra careful not to step on it.

Eugene jumped in the water and was having a fine old time playing with their dog, but I was mostly just watching the girls. The youngest was being silly, taking her shorts off and the older was playing the responsible (and horrified) older sister roll to the hilt.

The Dad looked like he wasn't quite sure what to do with them.

After a while, he tried to get the whole group together to head home, but the little sister didn't want to get out. She kept climbing out of the water and jumping back in, saying just one more time! just one more time! every time.

Finally the Dad said come on, don't you want to roast marshmallows? She was out of the water like a shot.

While they were walking away, I was laughing to myself at the site of her little bum half-hanging out of her bathing suit, and I had the strangest feeling. This weird feeling of in-between.

Remembering what it was like to be that little, jumping in the cool water, fascinated by a frog, delighted by the idea of a good marshmallow roasting. And all at once feeling like an adult watching from the shore in wistful anticipation of my own kids' antics.

And that was altogether too serious so I jumped in the water with all my clothes on.

* Except that weekend in LaConner of course, with the sun and the cowboys and whatnot.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Great one! And I know just what you mean.

Don't idealize the childhood too much though - that photo you posted is proof that I had to live through the humiliation of wearing ZIPS! when everyone else was wearing Nikes. And really, isn't it good to be out of that phase of your life?

You really better plan on spending some time back here when you have that goofy baby of your own!