Writing Non-Fiction posted January 29, 2020

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Memoir - Theme of life

It's Always Been About Water

by Relda Halbert

It's always been about water.
Water - theme of my life.  Oldest playmate.  Prized playground.  Source of understanding.  Muse and inspiration.  Refuge and restoration.  Sanity – established, maintained and regained. 
Water - mysterious, clean, clear.  Insistent siren.
Water - revelation of a holy God.  Picture of His love.  Liquid path to my Redeemer.  Ordained teacher … lessons neither missed nor misconstrued.  Mirror of sin.  Metaphor of salvation.   Baptistry.  Portal and sustainer.
God made me a water baby.  It was love at first sight.
My mother swears I learned to swim the day I learned to walk.  She says I ran straight into the lake, fell face-down, then churned out a few feet.  I came up on my own, giggling gleefully, and spewing water from my nose.  She says I dog-paddled that day, and required help only to steer me away from deep water.

I can’t remember learning to swim, but I don't doubt my mother's version of events.  I'm a natural.  Just saying.  She always kept a change of clothes handy, as, bathing suit or not, if there was water I was wet.  And all it took was a mud puddle.
I am convinced I can float indefinitely - my body is uncannily buoyant.  Floating requires no effort.  I float even when holding my breath, which I can do for several minutes.  I can float face-down, but in that position I do have to make an effort to keep my nose above water.  I can float vertically like a barrel-cork, and my head stays up with no effort.  I float whether awake or asleep.  I once fell asleep long enough to be badly sunburned, and drifted several hundred yards in the process.  I do fear dying of sun-stroke or starvation while floating.
I have no fear of water.  I respect it without question, though I do break the rules and swim alone.  My defense: there were times when water was my only companion.
Upon occasion and to some degree, I fear its creatures.  When in fresh water, I keep a respectful distance from alligators and water moccasins.  I find them much more dangerous on dry land.  In salt water, I am cautious where I swim and give the odd shark and jelly-fish an infrequent, uneasy thought.
I admit I am more comfortable swimming when I can see a shoreline, however distant, but I’ve swum with no land in sight and no sense of panic.
The idea of being aboard a boat which has struck an object … of being injured and ejected to a death by drowning … is a troubling possible end... but no more than thoughts of any other form of demise.
When boating, I feel in need of the protection of a firearm … as much for defense from humans as animals.  Some wilder rivers I’ve cruised had long, lonely stretches where anything might happen.  I once spent a long, terrifying night staring down the barrel of a police revolver – it was held by a soon-to-be ex-fiancé, a policeman, experiencing a suicidal crisis.  We both survived.
I’ve had my share of aquatic adventures, misadventures, and close calls.
I've been onboard as a boat sank and as a boat burned.  I've been onboard during a freak tropical storm and while waves broke over the bow.  I have run aground and been stranded.  I’ve had motor trouble in the middle of nowhere.  I’ve experienced near collisions and misplaced numerous keys.  I’ve been lost in back-of-beyond back-waters.

During my 70 years, I’ve rescued two swimmers who couldn’t, and aided others who were just plain foolish, exhausted, or inebriated. I've rescued a family from a sinking boat; one knuckle-head from a sinking sea-plane; one empty boat, whose occupants were rescued 100 miles away by the Coast Guard; and, one family aboard a stalled boat headed for collision with a ferry.  I've rescued a concussed water-skier and a brainless drowning dog.
Swimming is the only exercise I’ve ever done.  I once swam every day for a year, even on days so cold I turned blue.
I’ve skinny dipped a lot.  Alone.
Yes, it’s always been about water. 


Story of the Month contest entry


I'm kicking around the idea of writing my memoirs. This would probably be the intro/first few pages.

The 'I' word has always bothered me. 'I' appears 34 times in this story. That makes me very uncomfortable.
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