Solstice means the shortest day of the year, so naturally the stars are still present when I rip myself from my sheets and stumble through the motions of stretching on my swimsuit. My vision is still foggy as my car lumbers out of the parking spot and I drive towards the pool with thoughts of the warm boyfriend that kissed me through a haze of dreams before I left the house.
Clarity does not reach my wandering mind until I sink into the water and push off the wall. Suddenly there is order where there had been chaos, and my arms pulse in a succinct rhythm, my brain meticulously counting the number of strokes between breaths and the number of laps between it all. There is no room for rambling thoughts during my warm-up, just the quiet movement of water being displaced in an orderly fashion.
Eventually the order feels like soft white noise in the background, and I’m able to reign in on my thoughts. People do yoga because it clears their head, however that’s the precise reason I do not enjoy the zen-inspired practice. I swim because pulling the thoughts out of my head is impossible, and it is the only way to have a strong sense of control within my mind’s wanderlust. I can go anywhere and still be in one place when I return. Swimming is the closest thing to meditation I know.
The hardest part of the morning is leaving the pool. The water droplets curl down the backs of my knees, and I’m instantly a frozen cube of person when my skin hits the air. With a jolt of adrenaline, I look up and notice the sky is lightened and the sun is on her way up (though today, not for long). It’s time to go home and start the day.