Bouyancy – 19/09/09 – 9:45 PM – Clear Lake > Palo Alto > Breaker’s Beach

It’s one thing to call it out. It’s another thing to hear about it through someone else. But It’s an entirely different thing to experience it for oneself. Summer came I’ve been caught in the current more than once. Without warning things can change, relaxation takes a break and exhaustion catches up, becoming truly aware of the deep end that I’m thrust, dominated by tides impacted by waxing and waning from above.

Through a chance encounter I received a friendly reminder, that seemingly small actions can impact another’s life. By calling attention upon a relative struggling to stay afloat in a lake. Overextended without support, thrashing and splashing in tranquil waters, ripples forming in his wake. Disruptive enough to alert company previously inert. Under careful supervision, composed, and poised for action, not all accidents are avoided through heroic endeavor. It was just a chance, I thought little of the instance, viewing it as second nature to ensure another’s survival when your own life isn’t on the line.

Reconnecting with an old colleague, I began to acknowledge the fragility of life. Youthful spirits can be extinguished in simple sporting invites. Like at a swim meet, a seizure at the starting blocks without reason or rhyme. We’re never ready to lose a child before the end of our time. How can we explain to our own that these things just happen. As a guardian you quickly take matters into your own hands. Explaining the gravitas of the situation, before submerged thoughts traumatize. No precautionary measures could’ve been taken, yet the guilt says otherwise. How can I reassure my daughter and tell her things will be fine, unable to resuscitate, charged paddles unable to defibrillate. What if it was her and I was too late, don’t be so quick to take undeserved blame.

Falsely confident in my abilities in open waters, an uncontrollable environment. My understanding of the setting matches the visibility below, I couldn’t even fathom the depth. At a family reunion we were swept by the undertow, pulling us further from where we came. Thoughts of what will people think, became what will I do? And what if tomorrow never comes? Even when I put my best effort to place others in a situation to survive is it really worth the cost of my own life? The shore could be seen, nonetheless there’s sheer panic. I left loved ones once things became drastic, accumulation lactic, cortisol sapping. Common sense left until I did, knowing that assisting a drowning victim isn’t really right. And when a riptide comes don’t waste energy fighting, swim in a diagonal direction back to where you can be sighted. Adapting like heat leaving the extremities to keep the body warm, I refused to end through asphyxiation. Now I’m more grateful for this life knowing how little I control.

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