Monday, August 27, 2012

It Just Was. . .

The other day
with three other swimmers,
I swam five miles

It wasn't an ironman
or some other superhuman feat

I am no Diana Nyad
or Craig Dietz

But much of the swim was against current,
and at times, the current was "endless," and more than tried me,

and, other than a gracious kayaker or two around me,
for most of the swim, I was alone.

The other day,
unafraid and undoubting,
I swam five miles in the open water,

a feat, three years ago, I would never have dreamed I could have done.

When I reached the shore, there was no one cheering,
though the two other male swimmers, already back,
said, "good job."

When I stepped out of the water,
there were people on the beach
sunning, being, enjoying the end of summer.

My legs wobbled as I walked out, and my tired arms shook a little
as a father, unaware of what I'd just done,
asked me to snap a photo of his family.

The other day, I swam five miles,
without crowds or hype,
or fanfare,

and, so far, without any photos to prove it.

It just was.

Something more I did
one day
to prove to myself that I could.

- gae

p.s. thanks to Rob Martell, Rob Ripp, and Annmarie Kearney-Wood for making the swim with me, and to the amazing kayakers who spent their Saturday watching out for us. <3 p="p">

p.p.s. If you'd like to read a more detailed account of the swim, Carol Moore did a lovely job here on the water-blog.


  1. Congrats! I can't even swim a lap in my pool. How long does 5 miles take, anyway?

  2. My time was actually very good despite the hard current back (due to a strong current in our favor on the way out.

    I usually swim about a 40 minute mile.

    The swim out(first 2.5 miles) took 1:20; the swim back took 2:10... was out for 3.5 hrs. Still very good, considering two years ago I swam a 5K (3.16 miles) in almost 3 hrs. :D

  3. I cried. Beautiful, gae. Bravo.

  4. it takes me that long to WALK 5 miles! That's awesome

  5. it just was. as everything is. I'm glad for you, Gae.....

  6. Thanks, Jody.

    Mike, I think I'd sooner swim than walk 5 miles...

    Lori, is't that the truth. It just is. And then, isn't. Which is the new is. I've been thinking of you endlessly.

  7. Wow. I'm glad I waited to read this. It's gorgeously lyrical - the writing and the experience. Silent, lonesome effort is a wonderful thing.

  8. Gae,
    Your out and back times look awesome! Congrats! You are an inspiration with writing and now with swimming.:) Thanks for sharing your feat with us. What's next?

  9. Andy, thanks. I think I may have another 5-mile in store this season, as a friend of mine who I swim often with missed the other one and is wanting to make it up... next season's goal is a 10K (6 mile). We shall see. ;)

  10. Your retelling of it was as beautiful as the swim itself -- so sorry I wasn't there at the end to welcome you home, but I was attending another of our flock -- who would not have been there but for your instigation, I'm sure! Congratulations on your inspired 5-mile swim, and congratulations for having inspired Annmarie in hers...I'm so proud of you both! -- Carol (a/k/a "The Fairy Pod-Mother")

  11. Carol, you were exactly where you needed to be, and that was giving me peace of mind to keep swimming at my pace. Thank you. <3

  12. Beatifully written Gae. Nice job all around and congratulations on the swim! You'll keep it in your heart forever, which is better than any medal.