When I was a young kid growing up in the Quad-Cities, I took swimming lessons at the Moline YMCA.

The class I was in was referred to as the Tadpoles. I loved being a Tadpole, learning how to breathe in the water, jump into the water, float in the water, and eventually swim in the water. Bottom line I learned as a Tadpole that the water was my friend.

Today the early morning called to me to get up and jump into the day. I guess you could say that my Tadpole energy was alive and seeking a pool of water to jump into.

I decided to go to Barton Springs, checking it out to see how busy it was with swimmers. I told myself that if a parking space was readily available I’d go for a swim; if not, I’d wait until 8 AM and go to Deep Eddy Pool.

I discovered a parking space awaiting me, practically at the front door; I took that as a single that Barton Springs was on my morning swim’s dance card.

Upon entering the spring-fed water, I put on my goggles, deciding to dive in and swim the length of the football-field sized pool.

Stroke-by-stroke, breath-by-breath, I swam along in the refreshing water.

Suddenly I became aware of the aquatic plants touching me.

Amazing what happened next!

My imagination took over, pushing the fear button. A brief moment or two of my entertaining panic resulted.

The more I tried to avoid the plants; the more I felt myself becoming entangled in them.

Suddenly I found myself playing host to a memory from Act 1 of my life, me . . . sitting as a young kid in East Moline’s Strand Theater, watching the movie, “Creatures from the Black Lagoon.”

My fear-ridden mind was thinking the plants were creatures.

Oh, my!

Swimming plus panic (even for just a few seconds) do not make for a compatible partnership.

When I realized what my mind was doing to me, I began to laugh at myself and the fear that my mind was generating.

The laughing defused the fear.

I laughed at the headline my mind created:

Plus 50 Man Overcome by Fear of Barton Springs Plant Life Touching Him Struggles to Survive!

Amazing, simply amazing, the journey my mind took me on this morning while swimming in Barton Springs.

The duration of the scene I’ve described above was only a few seconds.

As I swam on, synchronizing my breathing with a peaceful rhythm, I recognized the power in the life lesson the plants were providing me.

Nature and me, sharing the same space . . . what an incredible teacher nature can be, especially when I open myself to the experience at hand.

Through my swimming lesson this morning, I was reminded of the power in:

  • Simply breathing
  • Taking myself lightly in the learner’s role
  • Looking at life through the lens of learning and embracing the learning at hand.

Yes, a powerfully-invigorating swim I enjoyed this morning.

I swam on and on, slowing my stroke every now and then so that I could take a good look through my goggles at my teachers, the plant life in Barton Springs.

As I looked, it was almost as if the plants were waving at me, encouraging me onward in living my life, letting go of placing fear in the driver’s seat of my plus 50 years’ Act 3.

So here I am on this Sunday morning, feeling as if I really did go through a baptism of sorts this morning. I’ve got to admit, I’m no longer a Tadpole, swimming in the currents of life.

I’m wondering if this morning’s lesson by the Barton Springs aquatic plant life was my graduation, metamorphosis, into fearless frog-hood!

Loving you,

Robert, aka Bob

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