birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Marco Polo

When I was a kid, I swam A LOT during the summer. As in every day, and I was on a swim team and was even part of a synchronized swim team. When you're around 6-years-old, synchronized swimming isn't creepy because you're not wearing waterproof makeup nor do you have a permanent creepy smile glued on your face. When you're 6-years-old and you're a synchronized swimmer, you're main focus is on not drowning. And keeping your toes pointed. I absolutely LOVED spending my entire summer day in a pool. Oh the feeling of getting out of the water, the wind making you cold but laying on the hot cement with a towel over you was such a great feeling.

And peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread with ruffles potato chips tasted better when you would eat them on the hot concrete next to the pool. I perfected, or at least I thought I perfected the butterfly stroke, and won a bunch of red 1st place ribbons. I also won a bunch of blue second place ribbons and white third place ribbons, so I was not at a loss for red, white and blue ribbons for the 4th of July! What I really loved though was swimming underwater for as long as I could hold my breath. It was so quiet and with my eyes open, I could see everyone's funny white, wavy legs and how they swam. And I would stay down until I let out the last bubble and zoomed to the surface. The chlorine turning my eyes bright red and my hair some greenish color. The boys told me that was because they peed in the water. So gross.

Fast forward to adulthood and its funny how little I swim. A pool was either for tanning or cooling off or to find the swim up bar. No laps or synchronized swimming. God forbid I get my hair messed up. Now that waterproof makeup might come in handy. About 5 years ago I moved into a house with a pool. A pool "heated" by solar panels which means only a few months of swimming. I couldn't wait for the pool to heat up so I could tan next to it. Who was I kidding? There was no one else around, so why not enjoy the pool the way I used to as a kid? It was the end of June and the water was almost 80 degrees!

Here goes nothing. A cannonball was my entrance into the pool. I had forgotten how much water goes into your ears when you cannonball. Next up was marco polo. Not that easy when you are alone, and definitely not as fun. I did butterfly laps, handstands and even a few synchronized swim moves in the deep end. And then I simply sank underwater. I had forgotten the silence and the feeling of warm water hugging me. I had forgotten how much I love the pool. I had forgotten how great it feels to be a kid during the summer. I won't let myself forget that again.

Naked Or Not, Here I Am

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