Thursday, January 14, 2010

Theme Thursday - Surface

On the surface this is a photo of a woman (in a skirted bathing suit) floating alone in a pool at twilight. And that's not incorrect. But what it really is, what is below the surface is a revelry of freedom and courage and an assertion of independence previously thought impossible by that same floater.

What seems simple is not always so. To arrive at a place of seeming simplicity can take tremendous effort, the assistance of others, a soul shaking amount of dammit-all courage.

This photograph was taken the day I learned to swim.

I was 45 years old.

When I was a child I was preoccupied by mermaids. My fantasies were about being one, I collected them, I wanted quite badly to be one. The hold up on that particular wish fulfillment was the fact that I was terrified of the water - because I could not swim and in fact on two occasions nearly drowned (or thought I nearly drowned - same thing to a panic stricken kid).

Perhaps my desire to be a mermaid stemmed from the fact that they could breathe underwater, and they could, of course, swim. Ya think?

There was a lot of water in my life as a child, it was unavoidable. Did I mention I grew up on an island? The irony is not lost on me. Not only were trips to the beach fairly frequent but everyone in my neighborhood had a swimming pool. The damned H2O was EVERYWHERE! And while I loved being in it, splashing around, just moving through it - feet firmly on the ground, head well above it - I never felt completely at ease because one slip, one push could send me under it and kill me. I knew instinctively that nobody would rush to my aid if I fell beneath the surface, not only because of my trust issues but because EVERYONE knew how to swim and assumed that I could as well. Because a kid who grows up on an island, surrounded by swimming pools, must certainly know how to swim and if that kid flails and/or stays under for a little too long why they are simply fooling around. But Joy don't play that.

So I stayed dry far more than I liked.

Until I was taught to swim and to float - like a mermaid. So what you see on the surface may look like nothing special, look again, it might be the biggest event in someone's life.


Gary said...

Well Ariel, you were already a little swimming mermaid. You just needed someone to tell you that what you were doing was right.

Or maybe you were just waiting for the perfect setting (which this certainly was).

Brian Miller said...

what a wonderful memory, learning that freedom and yes we may never have seen it in the pic, so thats for enlightning us. smiles.

Poetikat said...

Beautiful post and I can certainly relate. See here:

I'm glad you conquered your fear and got to the point where this lovely photo could be taken.

Wings said...

Great personal take on the theme! Thanks for sharing with us!

Stephanie said...

Skirted swimming suit! I love it. And mermaids too.

The Clever Pup said...


Skip Simpson said...

It just goes to show ya, it's better late than never. Great take on TT!

JeffScape said...

There's no touch like water's touch, eh?

Poignant piece... very vulnerable. I like.

The Mistress said...

Yes, living on the beach often leads to thoughts of the Mer kind.

Betsy said...

What a great post...really great on so many levels. and perfect for the surface theme! ;)

Mmm said...

oh you totally took this in a different direction than i expected. how marvelous. Aren't you glad you can swim.

Lizzie said...

I really like your TT post. It brought alot of emotion to the surface (no pun intended) for me. So often people are judged and thought of/about by what we immediately see on the outside, instead of taking the time to look on the inside as well. Beautiful post.

California Girl said...

What a super take on surface. I enjoyed this post immensely. Another blogger, Ruth of synchronicity, wrote about water today and how everyone is into it right now, possibly because of the Haitian disaster. I don't know but I certainly had it on the brain. Thanks for visiting my blog too.

Gladys said...

Wonderful take on surface.

lettuce said...

oh this is my favourite TT post - wonderful, and yay for you!

Gary said...

btw, I love the Basil slideshow on your sidebar.

Dreamhaven said...

The courage to make
That very first step
To reach out your toes
And get them wet
To some may seem simple.
But I raise a cheer
That the you inside
In spite of your fear.

May all your baby steps be as successful.

Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks the author for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. BTW, why don't you change design :).

Salty Miss Jill said...

What a wonderful post. :)
And what a beautfiul mermaid!
(also enjoying the slideshow here...)