I remember being a kid when the water temperature in the lake had no impact on my decision whether to Baywatch my way in or splash at the edge before taking the plunge.
With age, I started to become aware of near frozen temps before wading too far but that still didn’t stop me from dunking, fully immersing myself and wave jumping until the sun went down or I passed out from sun stroke or dehydration, whatever came first.
Leeches were always a deterrent and a very real threat in some of the lakes, rivers and ponds we would adventurously choose to play in. Salt shaker at the ready, we still opted to throw caution to the waves, even if it meant less salt on the dinner table and more on our knees and ankles.
I now watch as my kids sprint to the water’s edge with the same enthusiasm, carefree legs-can-barely-keep-up, give-it-all-you’ve-got energy, tossing sand in the air, carefully placed sun hats flying from the tops of their heads and blowing in every direction without causing them pause.
My job as pseudo lifeguard is to collect their hats, dust off the picnic blanket that two minutes earlier didn’t have a crystal of sand and is now buried beneath their racing dust and smile with every glob of lake bottom sand they can successfully turn into a ball.
I stand at the water’s edge when the first wave laps my biggest toe (I’m outing myself but on my foot it is the toe next to the “big” toe), I cringe at the thought of going in even as far as my calves. The baby grips my hand and points toward the boats in the distance and I know she too wants to join her frolicking sisters on their giggle-fest to the sandbar.
There are so many unknowns I hadn’t worried about before and in many respects I’m glad my kids don’t think about stepping on something sharp, wonder if a wave will pull them under, freezing to the bone, if a lake shark will attack. I just saw a movie trailer about that very thing so if someone was willing to pour money into making a movie about a lake shark they must know something I’ve been denying for a lifetime. Further, the writer (s) must have acknowledged enough people would find this a plausible and potentially believable story and off they went to the studio.
Today, I will attempt to run into the waves with the same carefree excitement my kids will. I just need to be sure; 1) my bathing suit is placed strategically should any shifting occur during the mount, 2) there are NO onlookers with cell phones who could video tape the run and download it to youtube before submitting it to children’s aid where I would most definitely be put under some sort of mental surveillance, 3) my knee doesn’t give out part way to the water and I end up wheezing in a heap with my head in the sand, 4) I simply run out of steam and my lacklustre effort goes completely unnoticed by the time I’m in a slow crab-walk crawl to the water’s edge, 5) the water isn’t too cold……..and I seem to have misplaced my salt shaker.