I found and fell in love with our current home online. Like a hopeful suitor, I scrolled through the photos and watched the artfully shot video again and again. The house, built in the 1970’s, was straight out of Dwell. Beautifully landscaped and surrounded by five forested acres, it also boasted an in ground swimming pool. Kidney shaped and forever azure in the looping video, ‘a sylvan pond’, according to the accompanying text.
We moved in just as the last of the snow was melting. Consumed with unpacking, it was mid June before the heavy green cover over the pool was peeled back. Beneath the chilly water lay a carpet of overwintered leaves and debris. Undaunted, I got right to work with a long-handled net and a brush and soon the pool was serviceable.
However, it didn’t stay clean for long. Leaves, pine needles, caterpillars, earthworms, all variety of amphibians and the occasional rodent all took the plunge, and most to ill effect. I began to suspect that it was in fact more pond than pool.
This summer I have been vigilant and yes, stubborn. Every morning I empty the filter baskets and fish the frogs and their leavings from the pool. I scoop worms and needles from the bottom, skim the leaves from the surface and scrub green algae off the sides. And, because I am going to all this trouble, I swim. Just about every single day. Breaststroke, twenty, thirty sometimes forty lengths. I love the cold shock as I first go under, the weightlessness, and how the sun glints off the water. When I step out of the pool, I am breathless. Eschewing a towel, I lay in the warm air and let the water evaporate from my skin; it is all very reminiscent of summer in my childhood. And, by pushing against my physical limitations, I am thumbing my nose at cancer.
My daily swim: two parts stubbornness and one part pleasure.