Monday, May 4, 2009

Solitary Swimmer

This morning I walked to Spy Pond along the bike path, and as I came to the jutting rock--you can see it in the photo--I thought of the solitary swimmer who dives from that rock.  She swims in all weather and goes in until the pond is iced over, which means she swims until the end of November, even as late as the beginning of December.  I've watched her arrive, carrying a tote bag, strip down to her bathing suit, and go in.  She doesn't shiver when she comes out.  She then must go home: she's wearing a wet bathing suit, and it could be 3o degrees fahrenheit.  

I guess her to be in her early forties.  She is lean and tanned, has dark blond hair, and a pleasant face. 

One day, bundled in my winter coat, I asked her whether I might interview her.  She gave me such a startled, frightened look, as if she were in a witness protection program or a person in hiding, but that can't be so: she's so noticeable.  I immediately changed the subject, speaking to her about the black and white bufflehead ducks she had swum near.  She smiled with relief but spoke only a few words.  Her long hair dripping, she seemed to belong to the race of water nymphs, aging to be sure, but unlike the nymph Rusalka in Dvorak's opera of that name, knew not to get too close to humans.