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SWIMMING

Every day I make a difficult choice. Right now I am making a difficult choice. To stay or to go. To keep going in the same direction that may be going nowhere, or to turn back. Like swimming the English Channel. Once you’ve swum 99 miles it would be foolish to turn around and swim back. But I swim and I can’t tell how far the shore is, or if it’s even there at all. Swimming in a fog. It’s terrifying. It could be a few yards away, a mile, a few miles. Or I could be swimming to my death. You can’t think about that. You can’t think about what if there is no land at all. Cause then you will panic and then you will drown. You can’t keep telling yourself it is only a few yards away, either. Or even a mile or two, or twenty. Cause when you get there and it’s not, you will be disappointed. You will mourn and grieve and become disheartened. You will lose hope. You will stop trusting yourself, the things you say to yourself, stop trusting that self that promised you it would be here and now it’s not.

They only thing you can do is breathe and stroke, breathe and stroke. Pray that you don’t get tired, pray for strength. And perhaps debate with yourself whether it is wise to keep going or whether it may be best to turn back. Of course at some point, you have come so far that you know that you will surely die if you turn back. This is the death mark.

But then, I guess, if you want to be more hopeful. You can tell yourself that there is some way to live on the water. Some way to be at peace with always swimming, or maybe just floating, somehow making your home at sea. Build a little raft, a little house on the water and keep on floating. You will always have the peacefulness and the serenity of sea (except when there are storms). You will always have your own company (except of course when you are crazy) and the stars above.

So you build a little house on the sea. Mine has my dogs with me. We float. After a while you probably start to wonder if you should even bother going in a particular direction at all. Why work so hard, if it’s just open sea forever? Legends of shores in distant places, but maybe they’re just stories. Sometimes you row hard for days or weeks or months and sometimes you just quit. Hope to meet some other drifters out at sea.

And then one day it sneaks up on you. The day that you’re just happy drifting. You have everything you need on your little island you bring around with you. If you meet some friends you are trilled, if not you are happy with peace. And your dogs are with you so that’s nice. And so you drift some more.