I don’t own a pool. Poor, poor me. Weep for me, all ye who have any tears to spare. Ha ha! Just kidding!! I’ve never, ever owned—or even felt compelled to own—a swimming pool, actually. I’m much too lazy to want the responsibility of either maintaining a pool or keeping it secure, and even too lumpish to be an avid swimmer. My only claim to fame in the latter regard is that I managed, almost inexplicably, to pass the required lifesaving/pool safety class at my high school, and this I only accomplished because I was stubborn and kind of unsympathetic as a rescuer, having learned some dandy but unfriendly tricks for subduing a panicked person who was struggling ‘uncooperatively’ while drowning.
When the weather gets hot enough, I might turn a slightly more longing eye toward any swimming pool in my vicinity, if only for the cooling of my heels. But I’m too pragmatic in my aversion to labor to indulge in the fantasy for very long. Just until the latest hot flash or external heat wave diminishes a bit, at most.
So it’s kind of funny, even to me, how incredibly rejuvenated and rejoiced I am the minute I get to the coast anywhere. I forget, conveniently and blessedly, between times quite what an impact being near open water has on my spirits even though I don’t relish swimming in it and don’t even care especially about wading in it. The tang of the water’s salt and the occasional spritz of mist when a breeze carries it to my cheek, these are the attributes that pull at my heart. The gentle, steady lapping of tidewater as it sweeps back and forth across the scree and sand, this is the soundtrack of my contentment.
You can keep your gently chlorinated, mosaic-spangled, sanitized beauties, all of you pool owners out there. I don’t mind the special occasion of dipping my toe into the temperate, turquoise splendors of such sparkling basins when I can, but I will always lean toward the shore. Call me when your tidepool sports dancing anemones and bold sea stars, your lap pool spontaneously cleans itself with a refreshing swish and spray of tidal movement, and your patio is scattered with shells and sandblasted gems of glass and dried seaweed in graceful bouquets and…well, I guess I’ll see you when I get back from the ocean.