For the first time in years I missed my annual “PLUNGE IN THE WATER NO MATTER WHAT PILGRIMAGE” off the end of my dock on the first day of May. In the past — no matter what kind of day it was (rain, snow, it didn’t matter) — I’d jog as quickly as possible around the house, down the sidewalk, onto the weathering 2×6 decking (screaming like some wild animal caught in a trap!), up, up, up into the air at the end of the dock awaiting without gravity for a huge SPLASH that was my body hitting the frigid water like a fish staked on a plank.
Instead, this year, I forewent the jogging, moseyed on down to the far-end of the dock with a hot cup of coffee in hand, and stared knowingly at the surface squiggles of reflected grey clouds. A few raindrop globules were scattered about out there, almost as if carefully placed for my amusement. I knew that in a few moments those globules would become streaking lances hitting the water with enough force to cause LARGER globules to explode upward like those slow motion pictures we’ve all seen of exquisitely-shaped crowns of milk caught in the action of becoming something else.
I’d like to think I’m getting wiser as my personal time-clock self-adjusts to these early stages of what I call the “Social Security Years”; that I know better now and can recollect bygone moments of Maydays, plunging carelessly into that Polar Bear Club water, rather than having to relive them in the flesh; that standing on the end of a dock in deep and unsympathetic meditation is WAY safer than taking a leap.
But I am not so sure.
Perhaps there is, instead, a greater loss happening here, one that nibbles away at our souls in bites so small we don’t even notice them.