Archive | 11:39 PM

Day 206: nightswimming deserves a quiet night

25 Jul

Justin is a water baby. 
He has proof beyond his love and adoration for the ocean: webbed feet.  Yes, his toes are webbed, SO WEBBED that when his mom and I surprised him with Five Fingers shoes for Christmas, they didn’t fit.  They couldn’t slip over the skin that ties his toes together.

Tonight Mr. Aqua Pants begged me to go down to the water with him because he had something special to show me.  He’s been talking about it nonstop for the last three days, mesmerized by the supernatural down at the harbor.

So despite the fact that I am a scaredy cat of the water — in daylight — and I also happen to be reading Vineyard Supernatural, True Ghost Stories From America’s Most Haunted Island, I agreed to follow him down to the water’s edge on this dark and cloudy night.

As soon as our toes hit sand and my eyes adjusted to the darkness I could see the water was bouncing up over the boat launch, much higher than I have ever seen it before.  Justin assured me it was just the wind.

With my camera in hand I watched Justin jump into the water and then coax me out to the edge of the cement boat launch, close enough where I could stay dry but also observe his most marvelous find on the island thus far: lightning water.

As he moved his hands around in the water, sparks of light jumped around like lightning bugs zapping through the water.

“Wow!” I screamed in delight. “Do it again!”

And he did.  Justin splashed in the water and I watched the fireworks show from the dock, warm and dry in his fuzzy robe.  As he moved his arms about underwater to show me another round of sparks I remembered a time when we both swam together on a night, a very long time ago.

It was in high school, on a hot summer evening in the depths of the Snake River Canyon in our home town swimming hole, Dierkes Lake. My skinny-dipping moment came with short-lived bravery, because I was seventeen, and in love, not yet diagnosed with cancer, and wanted so desperately to hold this boy’s hand, even under cold dark water on a hot summer’s night.

Nightswimming.
R.E.M. sings this song that reminds me of that moment so very long ago.  Tonight, it came back to me as I watched Justin splash around in the sparkling harbor on Martha’s Vineyard.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
I’m not sure all these people understand
It’s not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water
They cannot see me naked
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday

As a Freshman in college I sat at my new little dorm room desk, far away from home, from the canyon where I swam, from Justin, from everything I knew to be true, listening to this R.E.M. song over and over again.  It was August, and the line “September’s coming soon” pulled at my heart strings.

In my heart I knew September meant change.
It always does.

Nightswimming, remembering that night
September’s coming soon
I’m pining for the moon
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe nightswimming

So it was tonight, so many years later, I again watched the man I adore, with webbed feet, splashing quietly in the water.  This time I was dry (and clothed!) and on the dock, but equally entranced watching a different kind of fireworks occur underwater.

I suppose science could explain the chemical reaction that causes lightning water, but for me, I could not describe nightswimming.  What my head cannot explain, only my heart understands.

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