Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tapped Out

Middleton Pool Lifeguards, circa 1988

I'm tapped out. Drained.  Sad.  Lost.  Life is heavy.  However one thing that sustains me, body and soul, is water.  I just watched the documentary "Tapped."  Without getting into my political views about bottled water (don't buy it!), I realized how much water is a part of my life.   
July 2010:  Visiting the healing waters of Montecatini Terme in Tuscany

Up to 70% of our bodies are made of water.  We physically can't survive without it.  In my eyes, this makes water the world's most precious natural resource.   I love water.  I've always loved water. I'm at home in water.  My childhood was defined by swim team, water skiing, boating, and hanging out on Lake Namakagon in the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest in Northern Wisconsin every summer during family vacations.  In my sister Debbie's words:  "The Buckleys are lake people!"  In college I was blessed with my favorite job ever:  lifeguard and swim instructor.  In 1996 my first great love introduced me to hot springs...something that has likewise become a great love in my life. I've visited hot springs all over the world in search of soaking in their healing properties.  I've even packed my hot spring maps and a towel and I hope to find a few during my road trip.

2008:  APECA's Earth Day booth on the Santa Monica Promenade
In recent years water has become a passionate cause for me.  As part of my crusade to save the rainforests, I served as Vice-Chair of the Board for APECA Peru (Association Promoting Education and Conservation in Amazonia).  Part of APECA's multi-faceted mission is to provide clean drinking water to Amazonian villagers.

Yet, despite all this, what water means most to me today is a temporary reprieve from the stress of my crumbling life.  When I swim laps at the Santa Monica Swim Center, I feel pure joy.  The minute I slip into the water I feel swaddled, safe, protected.  I imagine it is much like being in a mother's womb.  Yet instead of the soothing sound of a mother's heartbeat, the only sound I hear is bubbles when I exhale.  The steady rhythm  of my strokes is meditative and I lose myself in counting my laps.  I am completely in the moment, and that's a beautiful thing.  I'll miss regularly swimming laps when I am on my road trip (I leave in 36 hours!), but with any luck I'll be able to find a pool in some of the cities I visit.  I'm packing my suit and goggles just in case.
Santa Monica Swim Center, I'll miss you

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