There are no jellyfish in Lake Erie. The only jellyfish I’ve seen have been on tv or scattered around a Florida beach like a bunch of used plastic grocery bags. I think that’s for the best because I hear jellyfish can sting and even kill you. I can’t see the point of swimming with things that can kill you, so maybe it’s best that I live in Ohio.
So why a jellyfish? Maybe because my snowbird friend was chuckling over the snow in Ohio when he was going to take a 5 mile walk on the beach in the Florida sunshine. Sometimes I have to remind myself why I like Ohio. I also had a lot of dull work to do and was trying to anticipate the IF word on Thursday night so I could post something. I got an image in my mind of long vertical lines and a jellyfish happened, so jellyfish it is.
There are plenty of things I could write about with “swim” as the word for the week. I grew up surrounded by water and can swim like a fish. Well, I used to swim like a fish, but now maybe I swim like a basking turtle? Maybe that’s why I harken back to childhood thoughts when I think about things to blog about.
Back then I had an extra special secret place downstream. There was a deep, warm well of water in the river with a good sunning rock, and because nobody but me ever went there, I was free to drop my clothes on the shore and swim neckid. One time I went there and saw that there were maybe a million or two baby water snakes squiggling around the entire edge of my rock.
I was torn. Should I do something in the woods instead or plow through baby snakes? I opted for snakes. They didn’t scatter as I swam through them. They kept squiggling on the perimeter and saw me as an extension of the boulder. What sounds like somebody’s nightmare was an exquisite experience. I was incredibly alive in that moment, with an overload of excited nerve endings. I gently floated alongside snakes and pretended to be one of them.
I feel like I should delete this remembrance because I imagine people far away going “Ew yuck!” and Mom scolding me that I shouldn’t admit to skinny dipping or that snakes have some sort of scary diseases. I get torn between repeating what I heard about women putting a snake inside themselves as a self-pleasing technique and stopping my typing fingers from repeating stuff I’m not “supposed to” repeat because we’re all supposed to be in lock step together dressed in beige.
One of the fun things for me about blogging is that I don’t have a goal when I start typing. I just look at the word for the week and free associate. It surprises me what comes out, especially when I start writing about swimming naked with snakes. I bet other people have lots of things that they could free associate about too that probably falls into the “we never talk about that” kind of category. How many of our most interesting experiences get squashed into silence?
Draw and write what you feel like drawing and writing. Test your intuition. Swim with snakes!