The dog days of summer have arrived to my little slice of Appalachia. The air is so humid that I’ve often joked about being able to swim over the yard or needing a snorkel to take out the trash. Ironically enough the most popular way to escape the heat and humidity is in the water. As a child I always wanted to learn how to scuba dive. Especially after watching Jacques Cousteau on Saturday afternoons. The expense of the lessons as cost of the equipment made it a little too impractical but a set of goggles and a deep breath brought the underwater world within reach. To the young imagination every discarded beer bottle from the bottom of lake was evidence that Atlantis was real and just a few feet away from the surface of the local lake. We learned that if you can sit quietly on the bottom you could tell where the boats were idling by from the clicking noise made by the gears in the drive shaft of an outbound motor. Even the person who is paddling a raft in the swimming area gave their location away with every stroke. Jacques Cousteau may have thought that it was a silent world but fish in the lake know better. The pressure in my lungs begins to build up as a mud turtle decides that my presence is just a little too uncomfortable. He scurries beneath a log for cover and slips out the other side. The turtle is more that safe. He can stay down for much longer than a kid in swim goggles. The urge to breathe is really getting strong now and I know that I have to return to the surface. As I rise up from the bottom ( which in reality is only about 12 feet ) I can feel the temperature of the water change. Looking up at the surface I can see an amorphous window of light opening to welcome me. My hand breaks the surface first and I feel edge of the water slip around my forearm and I exhale just before my head makes the transition from water to air. And with a giant breath I dive right back down again.
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