Swimming Along the Edge of Death

Swimming is a strange thing. Completely isolated from anyone else if you’re swimming at speed, almost enveloped in water and yet you feel so connected with the vast web of life. As above, so below, in which the coursing of my blood becomes the pulsing of the waves.

Perhaps its because when you’re swimming, you can almost feel your life stretching out in front of you. If you breathe now, it’s long and straight, if you fail, a frightened, thrashing mess and ultimately, a lot shorter.

It’s the same feeling during adventure sports, or other ‘could possibly die scenarios’. I never realised I had a serious problem with my heart until I was nearly mown down by a bus.

This is what animals must feel like all the time, completely connected with yourself, with senses humans barely use. So in tune with yourself and your environment because you have to be, knowing one wrong decision and it’s over, but trusting that you’ll be OK.

Swimming, hard, difficult exercise making you gasp for air, but in an environment where you have to time taking a breath to a split-second or you’ll end up with water where you wish it wasn’t.

Relying completely on yourself, swimming the line between life and death. For fun.

Knowing the exact limits of your body makes working with them so much sweeter. Your consciousness no longer solely in your head, but in your feet, your grasping fingers, your burning lungs and in your brain, counting and reacting.

A strange world, where any companions seem untouchable, somewhere beyond the water. The only person to compete against is you, for to see the other is stop swimming.  And yet, you feel them even more profoundly than on dry land, the roar of the crowd turning inside out until it matches the blood in your ears and the limitless water above your head.

Swimming at the edge of existence, hearing the start of it.

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