I remember in April, 2006, when I was backpacking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with friends, my buddy Cort said something that's just so true:
"The best thing about backpacking is you don't think about anything else besides backpacking."
There's a certain therapy in immersion.
When I'm swimming laps, there's nothing else I can really think of. When I run and cycle, my mind often wanders. I dream, I rehash a situation at work, I wonder where I'll go next. I think about a race; I think about a song. I think about what I want to have for dinner that night.
I'm always thinking.
But swimming demands focus. Breath, reach, count. Breath, reach, reach a little bit more. Pull.
The black line methodically passes below me and when I see the "T", I start my turn.
I suppose it might be this way because I've spent a good part of my life in the water. But there's a certain calmness to swimming for me; even when it's hard. Even when I'm pushing myself. The only sound I hear is my own breath bubbling beside me and the swish of the water past my ear.
It's enough to make me forget just about anything...whether it's from 20 minutes ago or 20 years ago. I always come out of the water feeling calm. Feeling ready to move on.
And I can't explain how much I needed that today.