How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love you when your water is crisp and cool. When I dive in and your water hits me, it wakes me and I am alive.
I love you when your water is still and quiet in the early morning dawn, and I have you all to my self. It is these moments alone with you that I cherish the most.
I love you when your water is salty and rough. You toss me around and challenge my strength and breath. You remind me of your power over me.
I love you when your water is a murky and familiar lake. You give me an advantage because I am comfortable with you.
I love you when you put slow swimmers in the lane next to me when I'm having a bad day. You always know how to make me feel sleek and fast.
I love you when you put fast swimmers in the lane next to me when I'm getting too full of myself. You remind me of how far I've come, but I'm not quite "there" yet.
I love you when you turn on the water slides for the kids to play in. You give me a current to swim against and help me prepare for my next open water swim.
I love you in the cool of winter, when I approach your water's edge in the darkness and and plunge into your chilly depths. I imagine myself Swimming to Antarctica* as I struggle to keep warmth in my muscles.
I love you in the heat of summer, when you take the burn out of my skin from the sun's intense rays.
I love you because you make me weightless. My body has neither an advantage nor a disadvantage because of it's proportions. You love me equally.
I love you because you give me strong, beautiful, sexy muscles in my arms, shoulders and back. I give you all the credit when I admire them in the mirror every morning.
I love you because you took me from nothing and made me into something. You did not care that I had not known you before, you thought I was teachable. You believed that I could learn to be a swimmer.
I love you because when I spend time with you, it is always quality time. Just you and me, head down, focused on each other. No sounds to disturb, just the quiet soothing sound of the bubbles when I exhale to block out any would-be distractions.
I love you because come rain or shine you are always there waiting for me. Like a patient friend, you invite me in to enjoy our time together.
I love you because you make me want to be a better swimmer.
Swimming, I love thee.
* a reference to the author's favorite biography by Lynne Cox.
*The author can be found swimming in the outdoor pool at Lifetime Fitness 4 days a week, any season of the year. She also enjoys the challenge of open-water distance swimming.
*Photo from Ironman Arizona 2007, courtesy of the author's friend John L.