Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pool Ladies


Recently, I bought a pass to the gym to get that extra resistance training I’d been craving. During my warm-up, I often walk a treadmill that faces the pool. It is there that I watch them—the Pool Ladies. They all look to be in their sixties, seventies, and eighties. Without self-consciousness, they promenade the length of the pool, heads held high, their multi-colored bathing suits modest, but still exposing all the flesh that bathing suits will expose. Then, one by one, they enter the pool, down the concrete steps, wade through the water in a ragged single file, and begin their water aerobics.

They are graceful as dancers in their purpose. I imagine aches and pains and stiffness are forgotten as the water cradles them, holds them buoyant. Their lower bodies waver in the water, strong legs that have carried them through their years; and their upper bodies wave this way and that, arms that carried babies or burdens, hands that stroked brows or clapped with happiness or held together in prayer for wishes that they never knew would come true, and perhaps some never did.

I watch them with envy. I want to project myself down in the water with them. I want to be a part of the Pool Ladies. Then I do imagine myself with them. I am wearing a bright red bathing suit, one I found at JC Penny’s on sale for twenty-nine ninety-nine. We are chatting and laughing and telling our stories. But, once we are down those stairs, once our dance begins, there is silence, only the sound of water gently lapping against our bodies disturbs the solemnity of the moment.

Finally, the Pool Ladies are done. They exit the water, chatting again like birds on a fence. Their faces are animated, full of high color. One by one, they disappear from my view. I miss them. I slow the treadmill and step off, make my way to the weight room. I hope to see one of the Pool Ladies, but, if I did, what would I say? They know all the secrets I am to find out, and those secrets are not mine to have, not yet. I know—“Thank you for reminding me what I have to look forward to.” That’s what I’d say.
(repost from the YOG)

13 comments:

Barry said...

The perfect thing to say Kat.

And a darn near perfect post. I really enjoyed it.

Jessica said...

What a gorgeous post!
I see the pool ladies too, but only in the bathroom. You're right about self-consciousness and their lack of it. Never saw a naked old lady until I went to the gym. LOL But they are happy and they're chattering and you're so right about the richness of what they've been through.
Someday, someday we'll be one of them. :-)

Lori said...

Oh, at least having company, I imagine, makes exercising much more pleasant. I hate exercising. The pool ladies sound like a lot of fun. I can imagine that they are very interesting.

smiles4u said...

Up until not too long ago I was going in the pool with the lady I care for. It's at a facility that has exercise equipment and a therepudic pool and this place is for people over a certain age or with a perscription from their doctor. Up above the pool area is all glass and that is where there are treadmills and those kinds of things lined up. People on the the machines look down upon those in the pool. I met so many wonderful elderly people at the this place. There were times I would go on the treadmill and was one of those looking down and watching the people in the pool. But, most of the time, I was in the pool exercising with them and how fun these ladies and men were. I loved their laughter and out look on life. I have had to take a break from there but hopefully will go back eventually. I still do take the lady to the pool as she gets physical therepy in the pool twice a week. It is so fun to sit and watch everyone and even more fun visiting with them. There are 3 ladies that come together every day...all 3 are retired teachers and are in their late 70's. They do the tredmills and weights and then go in the pool. Every single day, they play a game of pool basketball before they get out. They have a rule that they can't get out of the pool until they each have so many points. :) I am learning so many lessons from these ladies! Great post Kat!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

This post reminds me that life doesn't end because of age or disabilities. New friends and new experiences are everywhere if we just look and seek them out. And oh how much we can learn from the "seasoned" ladies!!!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Great post Kat! I'd fit right in with these gals! :)

MarthaE said...

AARGH! Thanks for the reminder! It is cold - okay north Florida is only 51 degrees right now but that seems too cold to get out to walk. Your post reminds me I could sign up at the gym and go in the heated pool! I HAVE to get some exercise. And I am getting closer to age of the pool ladies so who cares who sees me in a suit, right? :)

Glynis said...

One day a blog post will be written by a 52 year old woman.
I saw a woman in the pool today.She was probably in her 80's and her red swim suit caught my eye....*wicked grin*

destrella said...

I think it's the attitude of "I don't care what others think and I am just going to enjoy" that I am trying to emulate. Cute! :O)

Karen said...

Good examples of always having fun and staying fit. Me I prefer the fun. :0

t i m said...

60's, 70's is obviously many decades away so it'll be ages b4 you join the pool ladies :)

Doreen said...

a very cool post. I love seeing the older generation staying active and getting out and about enjoying life. what an awesome example for the rest of us.

have a blessed Sunday!!

Char said...

What a wonderful post, Kate. I love your thoughts on The Pool Ladies. My favorite is "They know all the secrets I am to find out, and those secrets are not mine to have, not yet."--I just love that!
Thanks.