“They remembered only the feeling which is the meaning of spring- one’s answer to the first blades of grass, the first buds on tree branches, the first blue of sky- the singing answer, not to grass, trees and sky, but to the great sense of beginning, of triumphant progression, of certainty in an achievement that nothing will stop…. the sense of youth, motion, purpose, fulfillment.”
- Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
I spent last weekend- well at least 9 hours of it- on the bottom of the swimming pool at the YMCA in Lowell, Massachusetts. You ask why? Or how? My answer is : I was getting my open water diving license. There’s a whole lot of funky stuff down there at the deep end in community pools. Especially end of day on a Sunday. And being hooked up to scuba gear and submerged for hours at a time you really get a unique and exhaustive perspective on just how dirty those pools are and hence why they pump all those chemicals in there. I saw hairballs the size and density of full grown koi. No jokes. Like the fat kind you see at fancy hotels in the fountain pools. There were dirty band aids everywhere. Schools of dirty bandaids fluttering about around the filter at the bottom like bees on a hive. Unreal. Unidentifiable hunks of biomass (not sure if I’m using this word correctly but who cares) lingering over my head in fifty shades of brown. String cheese wrappers. Cmon. I’m not a parent but if and when I am, my kid’s going to get a stone cold look in the eyes when I pass them that string cheese. You listen here kid (waiving the string cheese slowly in front of them just out of reach) if this wrapper ends up in the pool that’s the end of string cheese. And pools.
I know. I’m gonna be a tough dad.
Gross as it was, I endured. I was determined to complete the course and get approval to do my open water dives so I can go diving with my girlfriend and her cousins in Roatan at the end of the month. They’re all seasoned scuba steves so I’m going to be the guy in the background yelling “hey wait up!” through my bubbles. Oh yeah.
So you’d think that with a wet suit on and 78 degree water you’d be hot right? Wrong. It’s amazing how much heat you lose when you’re in the water for hours straight. I run hot too but I still left that pool cold at the end of the night. It was 7:00 pm last Sunday when we finished our final exercise, the one where you run out of air and your dive buddy is nowhere in sight and you do an emergency buoyant ascent. We sluggishly lifted ourselves up out of the water and shed our sopping wetsuits. I was exhausted and cold. When I pushed open the double doors of the concrete room that held the pool I hit a wall of heat and sun. It was 88 degrees in Lowell on Sunday. Not a hint of wind and the sun hung low and large in the sky, getting ready to set. The sky had that steely greyish matte finish to it that it gets when it finally gets hot and the air was thick with pollen. You could almost taste it. I froze and just stood there with my dripping wet suit in hand. I may have stood there for 2 or 3 minutes straight, letting the heat pour all over my exposed skin like a liquid. Looking up at the sun. I had that feeling. That feeling that Ayn puts so well. Triumph. Progression. Beginning. Fulfillment. My spring moment for the year. Never thought it would come to me outside the YMCA in Lowell Mass.
I believe very strongly in taking pause in your day whenever you get a hint of that feeling. Whether it be for a minute or 20. An hour or two. Stopping what you’re doing and more importantly what you’re thinking. Taking a look around. Feeling the air on your skin. Whether its 88 or 45. And being grateful for just being. That’s when you’ll have your spring moment. They’re the best.
And…. speaking of SPRING!!!! We’re throwing a good ole memorial day promo your way. Use code spring30 at checkout for 30% off anything in the shop. Its good through Sunday May 17th at midnight eastern standard. Have at it.