Hal and I have been swimming this summer, in a friend’s pool, and it has become a kind of haven for us. It’s nestled on the edge of Fairmount Park, surrounded by woods on one side. There are blue and white striped cabanas and comfortable chaise lounges, a field of grass instead of concrete. The only thing missing is a waiter with a tray, taking drink orders.
It’s a large pool and during the week it’s mostly empty. We go at the end of the day, after writing. While I swim laps, Hal walks in the water. I only swim for a certain period of time but Hal keeps going until we leave, walking back and forth methodically, a kind of meditation. He uses his hands when he water-walks, creating small ripples of water around him.
The other day he walked for over an hour, until there was no one else in the pool. Dusk was beginning to settle in and all was quiet, except for the low splashing sounds from the walking. I looked up and saw deer eating their dinner at the corner of the woods, next to the tennis court. He was walking so slowly, so peacefully, that not even the deer were disturbed.
“What is it like?” I ask Hal, on the way home after our first week at the pool.
“It gives me freedom,” he said, “I don’t have to worry about falling like I do when walking on the ground. I’m working with gravity instead of against it.”
[*The original title of this was “Walking in Water” but Hal thought I should change it to “Walking on Water”]