I know I need to swim because I dream about it. My mind offers creative solutions like living room cascade pools or in the garden coy pond swimming pools. Or it mourns and I dream about pools where the water is gone, seeping out, gushing out or just inexplicably closed to me.
So I push the limits and swim late at night. The water is cool now, in the fifties, not Arctic fanatic cold, but cold enough that I swim gingerly to avoid getting my head wet. I know my skull will ache if I do.
I swim to feel alive and quiet in the world. The stars and stillness are a gift. I usually have to talk myself into the water.
Once I am in I remember why. There is such a grace in water anyway. But in winter the added challenge of cold feels like an unexpected gift.
I like it because it is not pleasant, easy or comfortable–instead it is valuable and bracing.
For a moment I wonder if heaven will be like swimming in cold water–not for everyone’s taste but more alive and challenging than before.
There has been a lot of talk about what is wrong with us–our dying empire, our violent young men. But I know the simplest answer is mostly unspoken because it is so difficult to face–
Perhaps a man would think twice before shooting children or ramming planes into buildings if he believed in eternal justice. A split second after your heart stops beating–wham!
I admit most of these concepts are borrowings from CS Lewis. Everyone should read The Great Divorce. And then blink hard as they look around for signs of these eternal places in the way we each live our lives or not.