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  • Dearest Jumper, Diver, Rope Swinger, and Deep Ocean Traveler,
    Though you entertain me with your dramatic entrances, your loud splashes, your giddy rambunctiousness, and full throttle love affair with the water. Though I often wish I had the courage and the wildness, the quickness and the flexibility, to navigate my body into all bodies of water like you do; I just do not have the guts, or the interest to fling myself about and immerse myself like that. I watch you intentionally hurl your body from the edge of a craggy rock pile, screaming and laughing with your limbs swatting at the sky. I listen to the crash splash of your collapse into the water. I gasp and take extra breaths for you. I get giddy and goose-bumpy with you. I am adrenalized by the watching, and awed by your acrobatics and fearlessness, however, I prefer to hover and settle right around the water’s edge.
  • I am a toe dipper, a wader, a sit or stand and let the water lap at my ass and feet person. I am a grazer, a face splasher, a bobber, a lay on my back and get lost in the float with the sun on my chest person. I like salt water on my skin and a few laps in the Caribbean. I will swim out to the dock or the buoy, but it’s usually if you do it first. I am not afraid of the coldest mountain water or silty sand with thick seaweed and undetermined textures. I am not afraid of dark murky lakes with low visibility where little creatures mildly nip at and slip around my calves. I don’t care about pools; they are lacking an organic mystery that pulls me to the water in the first place.
  • I watch you dive in and quickly shift upside-down into that unsteady 45 degree angle handstand. You want me to join you and you think it’s strange, or perhaps unadventurous, that I don’t have the same relationship to the water that you do, but that’s okay. What you need to know, is that I am not having a compromised experience at the water’s edge; it is exactly how I like it. I like eating a piece of fruit while sitting on a hot flat slab of rock, and taking those little naps that only water and fierce sun can lull you into. I like watching parents rub sun tan lotion onto the thick thighs of their toddlers. I like watching you catch your breath and then shake your head from left to right to release the water from your ears. I like seeing how clear the whites of your eyes are after you’ve been so far out, and how much energy you have from battling the undertow. But, please understand, I am in my bliss at the water's edge.
  • There was a time that I felt I should be more like you. I wasn’t adventurous enough, wasn’t brave enough, wasn’t free enough to surrender. I judged myself for not joining you way out in the depths of the ocean. I judged myself for not jumping off the bridge and experiencing that momentary flight. So, for a while I tried being like you to see what it was like. I was titillated realizing I had it in me, but spent most of the time wishing I could experience the water the way I naturally wanted to.
  • So, when you see me standing at the waters’s edge, and you are way far out in the ocean beyond the tallest waves, and you are screaming my name and collecting the air in huge armfuls to gather me there with you. When you are telling me that it’s okay, that I’ll be safe, to just jump in, or swim out, and just get beyond where the wave starts. When you see me shake my head no, and kick at the shore, and splash water on my face, please let me be. I know you want me to experience all the wild joy you seem to be dizzy with, and I know how much you know how much I like to conquer my fears, so you feel it's your duty to give me a little push. But, perhaps next time, I should call out to you, and you should ride a wave back into the shore, and I could show you my joy, and we could go slow together.
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