I grew up in Phoenix which was hot as blazes in the summer, and there wasn’t much else to do back then but go to the swimming pool. As soon as I was old enough, I took myself and the dime it cost, to go to the public swimming pool every single summer day to roast myself, baby-oiled, all day long in the sun and to jump in the freezing cold water just before death-by-heat-prostration several times a day. I loved to swim — crawl, breast stroke, side stroke, back stroke, or dog paddle. I especially loved to swim as far as I could go under water. Later on, by the time I was ten or eleven, I loved to dive off the low board. I had my basic repertoire. Swan dive. Jack-knife. Half twist. and Back dive. It’s the best I could come up with, untrained as I was. But I aimed for perfection. And got as good as unrelenting practice and unending hours of repetition would let me. I also spent those long, lonely summer poolside days contemplating life, because there I was, without distractions. I was an early on meditator and philosopher by necessity.
Here’s a poem I wrote recently that was apparently born in those solitude-laden, long hot summers.