The Last Swim of Summer

One morning, the water begins to chill instead of cool. I swim a little harder, warming it and warming me.

The sun stays off the water longer, hiding behind the hedge, slowly edging up. Not like the August sun, brassily reflecting in the water long before I dropped into the deep end.

palm trees reflected in a swimming pool © Quinn McDonald, 2009

palm trees reflected in a swimming pool © Quinn McDonald, 2009

Not like the summer sun that crisped all skin not hiding under a least one foot of pool-blue water.

The September sun kept the water warm enough to trust.

Until the last week of September, when the wind turned. Days still hot, but the night air sucked the warm right off the water.

I went in one foot at a time, hoping each time it was not the last.

Like saying goodbye to a lover, I always hope there is one more day, one more weightless hanging between dawn and work. One more sliding through the water looking at a fierce blue sky.

This morning it was too cold to swim and I did anyway, lips as blue as the last

August sunrise in Phoenix.

Sunrise in Phoenix.

berries in the store. Looking up, wanting the sun to rise, I saw the first V of migrators arrive.

The pool rocked water up the stairs as I ran for my towel just as a tired duck took up the space I left in the water. We looked at each other, as we exchanged places and the seasons changed.

-Quinn McDonald won’t be in the pool anymore this year, but she can walk the sun up every day.

8 thoughts on “The Last Swim of Summer

  1. What a lovely image you have conjured up however I hope they were real birds and not ‘snowbirds’ Quinn. Sorry, just my bizarre sense of humour, I could see the skies full of Winnebagos in V formation.

  2. No pool here to help change the seasons, but the monarch butterflies have a flyway over Oklahoma. Watching them meander south is as sure a signal of the end of summer as the absence of hummingbirds and the flocks of robin families gathering at dusk before they depart in the morning.

  3. I listened and watched to the migrating geese overhead yesterday as I waited for my ride to church in the morning. There were several “v’s” which looked like they were trying to merge into one. They call to each other all the time – “oh no, where are kids now?” “did you remember to turn the oven off?” In this part of the world (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) there are a sure sign that winter is on its way.

  4. Oh yes, the water is very chilly indeed! We came back from our trip determined to swim laps again and were greeted with the not-so-pleasant bath water temperatures of July. My goal is to see if I can keep swimming laps until we leave for San Francisco in mid-October. Fortunately, I can swim in the middle of the day after the water has warmed up 1/2 degree. Let me tell ya, that first walk into the pool, dunking my body and immediately starting my first lap is a real shock to my system. It gets a little better after I push myself and my body starts to warm up. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it to the 17th but I’m determined to try. BRRRRRR

    • They didn’t stay long. After they rested a while, I shoo’d them off. The chlorine can’t be good for their feathers. It happens maybe every three years, when migrating ducks are too exhausted to find a better body of water. Lucky for me, it’s never been a goose!

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