As smooth as glass

Later than in all previous years I throw my towel into the basket and bike down the curvy, cobblestone lane that leads to the lake. The day still early, crisp and young. No one else is to be spotted on the street. Not even the cats are awake and the dogs still dream. Even the birds look rather astonished that someone one on a bike is disturbing their morning rehearsal than to add to its glory. At the lake the ducks are still sleepy and collectively sigh that their morning routine now is interrupted. The lake itself lies asleep as well. Not single wave is to be seen and its water is of a deep and clear green. And cold it is, so very cold. And from very far away I can hear my grandmother laughing. She always started swimming in the last week of April and kept this habit up till mid-September. When I in the long summer holidays accompanied her to the lake, different from that I am swimming in now, and even earlier we went, never later than 6 AM, I still see her getting into the water without any reluctance or hesitation and with a backward glance towards me she shook her head a little, seeing me shivering and dipping only my big toe into the water. She shook her head a bit stronger till I dropped into the water and paddled after her like a clumsy dog who tries to keep up with an elegant dolphin. Whenever I asked her why she never seemed to feel the cold of the water, she just looked at me and claimed that an ancestor of her must have been a fish himself. I looked rather doubtful. But my grandmother never gave a different answer to this question and most questions she never answered at all. Now, it is just me and the lake, who still sleepy and cold, wakes up and strengthens its muscles and I bite myself on the lip and plunge into the water. Freezing cold it is. And instead of my grandmother I am sure all the fish and maybe the merman, who reigns at the ground of the lake are laughing at me and little white bubbles appear on the surface of the otherwise still silent lake. But then the sun rises above the trees and I swim further and further till I do not even hear the church bells anymore and it is just the sun, the water and me for a long, long time. The world seen from the water looks light and weightless, the merman went for another good nap and does not stir up the waves, when I arrive back at the shore, the ducks have  breakfast and when I step out of the shrubbery where my clothes are lying I see the men who collect bottles, arrive. „You’re late this year“, they say and I know they are right. But still it is very early, the day yawns a bit but is still sleepy, when I bike back only two squirrels pass the road to get more sun and arriving back home I realize that my lips are blue. My grandmother would shake her head slightly and around her lips a small ironic smile would appear, but so its just me searching for pair of woolly socks, sitting on the balcony in the warm sun for another thirty minutes till the day inevitably will wake up.

2 thoughts on “As smooth as glass

  1. What a glorious way to start the day, and what a wonderful woman taught you how to do so. You are fortunate to feel so comfortable in the water, a state I never attained, so I have great admiration for those who do.

  2. Oh yes my grandmother was a wonderful woman. I miss her on every single day. I think feeling comfortable in the water is rather a predisposition than a knowledge to be attained. You are blessed with manifold talents I will never be able to achieve!

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