Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Swim


I am going to drown.

Arms flail as water invades airways, pushing  ribbons of bubbles toward the surface. Sunlight pales above the waves as the depths claw his feet pulling him ever down into their gullet. Fingers seek slippery purchase, grasping for the surface. Fear twists his inner most parts as gray fog moves in at the corners of his vision.

Tap. Tap. Raps upon his head...is this how it ends?

Logan, stand up. The water is only up to your knees.

Do you remember learning how to swim? Maybe it came easy for you. I have a vague recollection of life before the freedom found in trimming through the water. Once we overcome our fears, they become faint echoes of a past life. Up to that point they are living nightmares, reenacted every time we come face to face with them.

I remember standing on a 250 foot cliff, secure in my rope and harness and hearing those words...Step off. They were in my head, because my belay was a deaf mute, which did wonders for my confidence. What was I going to do? Take my hands off the rope and sign him to pull me up? They say never look down, I was just looking for the softest rock below. 

My journey down the 250 foot cliff, began at 30 feet. Our guides started us small. As we mastered those, we built momentum toward what was to come. About half way down, I began to believe in myself. Pushing off farther, traveling further down the rope with each bound. I found freedom.

Usually, opportunity starts as an impossible dream. Our irrational fears keep us buoyed, comfortable in our water wings, settling for small tastes of what we could experience when we are finally willing to take the risk.

In his eyes, desire is building. Soon the fear of missing out will overcome the fear of drowning and Logan will swim. Life will never be the same. 

25 comments:

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Brian:)

This post reminds me the days I used to go to the Marina Swimming pool in Chennai on Saturdays to learn swimming. It took me several determined weeks to float on my back and then I could float for about an hour without any difficulty. This surely gave me immense confidence.

I was forced to learn swimming because I almost drowned in the sea. I was wading in the shallow waters and suddenly I fell in a deep ditch. I was gasping for breath and tried my level best to come up. Every time I came up choking, I went down again. Finally to my great relief, a huge wave came and pushed me out of the ditch. My life was saved.

Very interesting and useful post.

Have a nice day Brian:)
Joseph

Ronda Laveen said...

So true, so true. Fear of the unknown is a big one. I'm sure he'll be a little fish soon.

Lorraine said...

I love this, first scare me then make me laugh...the first time I went in the water, I was a fish, never had to learn it was natural. But a cliff, now you got me shivering in my toes...Heights, gosh I shudder, I'd rather be a fish. Bravo for your courage!

Brian Miller said...

@joseph - wow. great story, I bet that was scary! Somewhat surprised you went back and beacme a friend of the water. often those traumatic incidents give our fears muscles. have a great day!

@ronda - ok, so did i get the 3rd comic reference? i think this is his summer to learn how to swim...

@lorraine - the water is whole lot softer than the rocks...we all have those things we have to face...the good thing is we don't have to do it alone.

Mrsupole said...

You are a brave man to go cliff climbing. I think I could only do it if my life depended on it. And I think your son will learn to swim and soon be swimming like a little fish when he goes into the water.

I really enjoyed this story and it brings back memories of when I had to learn how to swim. Although when I was ten I did almost drown and I never have forgotten that time. But I liked the 'stand up the water only goes to your knees'. I think the water was a little under 5 feet deep that I almost drowned in. My mom walked over to get me. I was a short kid.

God bless.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I think every child remembers learning to swim, a huge achievement in ones life. As for jumping off cliffs, I've never experienced it and never want to. I'm scared of heights! Could be pretty exhilarating though I suppose!

CJ xx

Lola said...

My son has started taking swimming lessons at the neighborhood pool. 2 young girls instruct the 5 life saver-clad toddlers, splashing water in their face as we parents sit in the external verandah, not enjoying a fresh drink or a gelato, rather gripping to the hope that the swimming instructors will not let one slip through the floaty.

My boy had always been very "aquatic," but it's scary to see him paddle alone in the deep waters. It's a lesson in confidence for me too, I guess.

"Usually, opportunity starts as an impossible dream." Precious appendix to the Hopeful Romantic concept...

Ciao, super daddy.
Lola xx

Daniel said...

Never look back. When confronted with opportunity and encouragement, there is scant need to, the adventure and freedom is far too engaging!

Leah said...

"...the fear of missing out will overcome the fear of drowning..." ah yes! Yes, it will. I thought about it and I honestly cannot remember a time before I knew how to swim, I think I was born a web-footed water dog!

Brian Miller said...

@daniel - running full force into today brother!

@lola - good morning italy! although it may be much later or earlier there. when we put our trust in another to take care of our little loved ones....yeah. then to see them taking that first foray into the deep...it builds the confidence or faith that they will be ok. ty friend.

@crystal - would recommend it to the slightly mentally deranged like myself. it takes a certain something to throw oneself off perfectly good earth. funny, i won't do the tower of terror rides at the theme park though, the ones that drop you several stories. just does not do it for me...

Brian Miller said...

@leah - we must have been posting at the same time. truth be told it was your post yesterday that inspired this. cute memory of times at the beach and swimming "free".

subtorp77 said...

I can remember the first time gone swimming and the first time doin' the moutain climbing thing. I prefered the swim!

Rain said...

Hi Brian! Great post. I can definitely say that the thought of missing out has won out over almost all of my other fears in the last 6 years! I've done some brave things and I plan on doing many MANY more! Swimming was easy for me, I'm like a fish in the water and I really feel grateful for that! Reminds me of swimming lessons in the summer...those were the days before they used dummies for mouth-to-mouth training...I was paired with a boy that I had a crush on...that was so embarrassing for an 8 year old, lol!

Candie Bracci said...

Once again,true touching words Brian!When we overcome our fears then we step foward and our life,ourself have changed.It's a beautiful feeling.It's necessary and even if sometimes there is pain,it's a necessary process to go through as it frees us and make everything right again.Better.

"Expose yourself to your deepest fear,after that fear has no power and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes.You are free." Jim Morrison

Have a beautiful day!

BeautifulWreck said...

this post is true for all of us at any age.

Valerie said...

You wouldn't catch me jumping off cliffs ... Heehee perhaps I should rephrase that. Great post, Brian, very well written.

Michael Rawluk said...

I overcame one big fear a few years ago. It is amazing that once you do it you wonder what the big deal was.

Rob said...

Good stuff. I learned to swim as a young lad. I don't remember being afraid of the wate.

Cinnamon said...

You have a talent for bringing memories of childhood back! My grandfather taught me to swim. I can remember that feeling of near-drowning- but oh boy, it was worth it because swimming has given me so much pleasure over 35 years.

The more time Logan spends in the water, the quicker he will swim!

And so true about risk-taking- I like the way you extrapolate your observations Brian!

Brian Miller said...

@cinnamon - smiles. childhood memories are fun and should be relived. think they bring little joys back on rainy days like today. look forward to swimming alongside Logan in the coming days!

@rob - thanks bro.

@michael - too true. glad you faced your fear and won.

@valerie - smiles. lol. ty.

@beautiful wreck - yes, it is. every day we get out of bed is an opportunity.

@candi - great quote! love me some Jim Morrison. pain often seems to rear its head when we face our fears, but true in pushing through we gain so much more. and as michael points out, we often forget it once the moment is passed.

@rain - thanks for sharing your story. while it may have been embarassing in the moment, you know you loved it. smiles. look forward to reading more of your exploits on your blog.

@subtorp - yeah, i do the swim much more than the climbing. each has their own exhileration.

Vince Farrell said...

thanks Bryan! Did the video have a youtube logo on it? If not, then yes it was having probs, so I switched over to youtube format so it should work fine unless their servers are jacked....which happens often. ;/

Vince Farrell said...

BrIAn! sorry, I have a friend here that is also Bryan Miller with a "y"...poo!

Baino said...

It's a must here with so many families having backyard pools and toddler drownings are frequent. Even babies can be taught to hold their breath and paddle to the side. We learned in England would you believe! Indoor pools, then out here as kids until we all had our lifesaving certs. I love the water, but I still like to be able to touch the bottom! There, slightly adventurous but still in need of a security blanket!

Otin said...

I did not really learn to swim until I was about 10, I was so afraid of going under water! Looking back now, the fear was silly!

Kitty said...

My son is right on the cusp of swimming. I love watching the transformation!