September 04, 2008
That's the word that my family uses to describe the temperature of the water in the River That Runs Between Two Countries. In this case, the word refreshing means "pretty fucking cold." People who step off the rock and jump right in (which is really the best way to get wet when the water is "refreshing") usually scream involuntarily when they come up to the surface. My father, who has swum in the river since he was a boy, will always say that the water temperature is perfect, no matter how icy it is. He'll even talk about the time he visited someone in a southern state and how he just couldn't enjoy the water because it was too warm. Everyone rolls their eyes when he says that.
Of course, several months of hot summer sunshine will eventually warm up the river. At the very end of August, just as the season is about to end, the water in the big, deep river is finally comfortably warm. The water level has usually dropped by then, too, so that the seaweed-covered rocks are exposed to the air, providing a slippery green surface to play on.
Last weekend when we all went out to an island to swim, Blonde Sister and With-a-Why spent all kinds of time in the water practicing their "Michael Phelps" moves. They pretended the rocky edge of the island was the wall of an Olympic pool as they worked on their kicks and their flips. Blonde Sister babysat With-a-Why when he was an infant, and they've always been close. When he was little, he'd often sit on her lap and pinch her arms (which is his sleeping ritual) when he was tired. As I watched them swimming together and playing in the water, it was shock to realize that With-a-Why is now almost as tall as his aunt.
Posted by jo(e)