February 13, 2010

Swimming Adventures ©

Ouch! I took my 11 year old to the pool today and I've got some sore muscles to prove it. Normally when I go to the pool I do a number of laps, but today we played around, got water into our lungs and our eyes and generally had a good old time. 

From my own childhood,  I remember swimming being one of my favourite things to do. Part of the adventure was trying to find a good swimming hole with my Dad, and the other part of the adventure was trying to get ourselves either unbogged or unlost! My Dad seemed to have a natural affinity for minor disasters, especially when it came to anything remotely connected to vehicles.

I think that my Mum hated these outings because of the inevitable problem that arose. But it's interesting that for me, the setbacks we underwent were not a negative experience, but a positive one, probably because it made the outing so much more memorable. While I can recall my Dad getting quite hot under the collar on a number of occasions, to us kids, it was all part of the good time.

Now as an adult, if I were stuck in similar circumstances, I realise that I would be the one getting hot under the collar now, while my 11 year old would probably think it was a bit of a hoot.

There was always some adventure to be had on our outings, whether avoiding snakes of various sizes and colours, catching fish that were too small to eat, smelling the cow dung flung in the fire in a vain attempt to keep away the squadrons of hungry mosquitoes, or finding oodles of fascinating creatures under rocks and in trees.

My older brother seemed to take great delight in tormenting his three younger siblings with horror stories of giant toads that lived under the water in the creeks, waiting for unsuspecting children to swim by, or googly-eyed monsters hiding behind the trees in the dark as we slept out under the stars. Sometimes he would wait until we were nearly asleep before grabbing us by the arm or ankle and shrieking in a horrible voice in our ears.

Being such an imaginative child, I did not need my brother's encouragement to visualise ravenous creatures waiting to gobble us up. For me the weeds in the water that brushed against my feet were the tentacles of the horde of hungry fiends that lurked in the mud at the bottom of the lake. Strange sounds in the night, whether from a friendly or unfriendly cow could in fact be the sounds of an alien that just happened to choose that particular empty field at that time so that it could fill its empty belly with some deliciously tender human children.

Though I don't recall Mum complaining too much, I think she was completely mystified about what attracted us to the excursions in the first place, while for Dad it was an inexpensive activity that the whole family could do.

For us kids it was the adventure of the unknown and hopefully a lovely swim that urged us to participate, no matter how many gluttonous monsters might be lurking about. ©

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