by Felicia Donovan
I grew up on the shores of Long Island. My grandfather, a Naval Captain, practically raised my father on boats. As children, we were exposed to lots of water experiences - fishing on my Dad's boat, building sand castles near the shore, surfing on our makeshift surf boards or just swimming in the chilly Atlantic. The time we spent together as a family on or near the water are some of my most cherished childhood memories.
Now that I'm all grown up, I still find myself at the beach as often as possible, but the chilly New England winters make beach-going a very trying experience. I've done it many times, but the wind sucks the air out of your lungs and no layers can keep warmth in.
I had been sorely missing my water connection until a few weeks ago when I joined a fitness center with an indoor pool. It is the single-most best investment I've ever made. Though the pool fills up with young families on the weekend, it is often completely empty the odd times I go. The pool is kept warm enough to let my muscles gently warm up as I begin my laps. After doing "Penance" for a while, I stop and play - diving, spinning, bobbing up and down and generally frolicking about - just as I did as a child.
As I glide through the water unencumbered, uninhibited, my imagination surfaces. I am, once again, Jacques Cousteau about to discover the sunken treasure ship laden with gold buried at the bottom of the ocean for hundreds of years. I am a World Explorer setting off by sea for foreign lands. I am a dolphin trainer holding onto a fin as I am gently pulled along. I am gleeful, joyous, free...
What does the water bring to you?