When I was a young adult I spent one of my summers diving off a springboard into a very deep pool.
I was reasonably good at it for a beginner. I had a lot of years of acrobatics under my belt and so could perform skills in the air that may have left an impression at times.
But it was the take off and the entries that really had me fascinated.
These were a mystery to me. How to control the board and how to line up the entry so that I had control in the air and a splash less entry.
I never really got the hang of it.
Occasionally I would find myself with all the ducks in a row and after a beautiful mid air rotation I would enter the water just so and disappear like a pin into the water.
That's when the real adventure began.
Those pools are very deep. And when you enter the water from a great height at just the right angle you shoot straight to the bottom of them.
I have this vivid memory of finding myself at the bottom of that pool and not quite having enough air in my lungs (being a newbie at all this) and looking up and thinking, well, that’s a long way away.
As I swam towards the surface I must have forgotten to push off the bottom of the pool so my progress was slow. I started to panic. My body was desperately sucking oxygen out of the air in my lungs and just as quickly using it up to swim frantically upwards towards the surface.
It’s very quiet down there, deep under the water whilst all this happens, lonely and quiet and more and more frightening as I pulled the water through my hands desperately hoping for the surface.
In the flurry of it all I lost all sense of perspective. I couldn't really tell how far away the surface was, I started to genuinely worry that I wasn’t going to make it, that I would need to open my mouth and suddenly inhale a lung full of air. But there is no time for that kind of thinking. The only thing to do was to look towards the surface and pull my way towards it.
I can still feel the relief of that unexpected moment where my head broke the surface and I opened my mouth and the vacuum of my lungs filled with a life-giving gasp of air.
Today felt like that moment of breaking the surface.
Finally, a moment of reprieve, the desperate swimming towards the surface led to a small break through.
What a relief.
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