May 13, 2014

The Expression of Wonder ~

Today I swam. 

Same place, same pool, I was happy to be in the water again. The pool has six lanes, 3 reserved for lap swimmers, 1 reserved for people who are undergoing therapy and 2 reserved for what the Marcus Center calls "open swim". 

I was in the lane closest to the open swim area today and two young, "very young boys", probably 3 or 4 years old were enjoying private swim lessons.  

One was learning to get familiar with the pool, the instructor taking him through introductory activities: how to close his eyes and mouth when he went under, how to float, how to get in and out, how to hug the side of the pool, the basics. He had beautiful blue eyes. I watched him a bit and he was short of being in a trance.  He intently listened to the instructor and held onto her sound.  His Mom had left the pool bleacher area, the little boy was almost one with the instructor. It was delightful to watch from afar, the sense of adventure, probably a tiny bit of fear and the wonder of learning to be comfortable in the water for the very first time.  The moments were kodak.

The other little boy - he was swimming and jumping into the pool from the starting blocks for the first time today and the look on his face was worth every second that I observed and enjoyed the fleeting moments. 

He was in the lane right next to me, when I got to the end of the pool I could see that he was getting out and getting up on the starting block - the instructor was very calm - ((in the water)), treading, giving him instructions on what to do, how to jump forward, she was reassuring him that she would be there for him. I was right next to him maybe 3 or 4 feet way quietly and intently watching his face, his eyes, his hands.  

I was filled with joy and excitement watching - this quiet yet gigantic moment in the life of this young boy. He looked a tiny bit nervous, yet extremely brave.  I could tell he was listening intently to the instructor, he took two tiny steps to get to the edge of the block and jumped in.  He did this three times and each time he was in a zone of wonder, amazement, the smile on his face when his head came out of the water, a ray of light that lit up his area of the pool.  Each time he was thrilled with his accomplishment.   

One of the Mom's was sitting in the bleacher area watching quietly. I appreciated that the lesson was between the boy and the instructor and a few interested swimmers like me. I was very careful not to intrude - the little boy was so focused on the instructor, there could have been a marching band in the swim area and he would have never noticed. Learning to swim is a serious feat. 

I saw the same little boy in the dressing area once I got out of the shower. His MOM was helping him change out of this swim trunks; his eyes were glazed over. He was successfully tired.  

As I walked to the car, I wondered what activity have I engaged in as of late that elicited that sense and degree of wonder ?  What do adults do today that gets them to that place, the relationship between teacher and student and the trials and triumphs of learning something significantly foreign.   

And maybe it is not always learning, maybe it is being present or part of an experience, like watching Gustavo Dudamel conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Sunday or going to the Pageants of the Masters in Laguna Beach the first time. Or could it be watching a mama bird feed a baby or  swimming with dolphins, or gazing, truly gazing at the stars. Whatever it is that gets us to that place, GO FOR IT.  I will think of those two boys for sometime, the look in their eyes a gift for me today. And it was especially nice that they were the only two children at the pool today, it was quiet, almost private. 

What is your source of wonder ?