Honestly, it could have been the death of me. Now that we have winter, and the need arises to find different ways to exercise, my friend invited me to aquasize.
It snowed plenty overnight, and I take myself onto the road to head to the indoor swimming pool in town, which I have spurned for several years now. In my bag are some watershoes that I have been using in my house for flexible foot movement and utilizing all 33 foot joints, as is recommended by my yoga teacher. So far so good. The watershoes are coming in handy as they will also help keep me safe on the deck of the pool which can be slippery. It is sensible to get a bit more cautious with "advancing age" (cough, cough).
It turns out that with the snowfall, the road is rather treacherous as the rear end of the truck swings out at the three-way stop, then the big intersection at the highway, and the several other left-turns I have to navigate every so slowly. This town happens to have a lot of freight-truck traffic rumbling through it, frightening me as I try to steer my little, slip-sliding vehicle. Has there been no sanding, yet, today?
I get to the pool, and into the water five minutes late but safe. One surely needs to budget more time for this sort of expedition, this time of year.
The ladies--an no men, by the way--are already busy with their warm-up exercises, jumping, splashing, turning. I am finding that the watershoes are marvelous; they cushion the blow of the heel coming down on the pool bottom, and I can feel the whole foot planting on surface which gives a good calf stretch every time the foot goes down. Well, now that we are comfortable, we can try to follow along with what the teacher is doing. My friend seems to have no trouble and I can always ask her and follow her. The instructor's voice is piercing above the noise of the water splashing. She sounds like Bernadette in the Big Bang Theory. My goodness, the poor soul is straining her voice.
Now, that I have sort of figured out what to do, I can have a look around at the other ladies. Most of them have grey hair and seem very cheerful. In fact, a good many of them are having animated discussions with their friends over top of the intrepidly, screeching instructor--and the music, and their exercising. They are laughing and sharing the latest stories. I can hear words floating by such as "gall bladder", "pregnancy", "wedding". Some of them wear crosses. I am beginning to think that the entire Catholic ladies' aid is in aquasize, today.
At the 35 min mark, even the instructor lets herself be distracted to throw in something about someone's premature labor and delivery, the baby coming out with some sort of suction machine and having a rash. Or maybe the mother had a rash. Whatever. I suppose this is better for the women than having a coffee clatch and just sitting around, as they are using their time rather efficiently. At the 37 min. mark, a lady next to me, not grey but sporting a beautiful hair coloring job, starts to complain about her full bladder, and having to decide whether to go to the bathroom or not, since it may not be worth her while, at this point in the class. I decide to encourage her, though I have no experience with this yet. I tell her, that it will take her one minute to get to the bathroom, one minute to go to the bathroom, and one minute to get back in the water. She goes.
All the while, some men and women have been floating more or less without moving, in the deep end wearing flotation belts or using pool noodles. I am not sure what good it is doing them to float like that except that the easing of the pressure on the joints might be pleasant. They make and odd sight, I suppose like the rest of us. Perhaps, there are a variety of mobility issues.
In the very end, we all settle comfortably into the hot tub sharing more stories. This hot-tub-sitting takes me back to a holiday we had this summer in Iceland. It happens that Iceland Air flies from Edmonton to Europe via Keflavic Airport near Reykjavik and offers longer lay-overs for travellers, at no extra cost. On the way, there, and back, I watched several Icelandic movies, getting to know more about the lifestyle in Iceland. We spent two days touring Reykjavik and environs. In a way, the Icelanders and we Albertans share this treacherous, cold weather, with the difference that they have natural hot springs absolutely everywhere since they are living on a fault-line, where the European plate meets the North American plate. They have pools in every corner of the city and all over the place, they love to soak in. Well, at least, in my cold, icy Alberta town, situated very much right on the North American plate, we intrepid northerners also have our public indoor pool, even though we may have to gather our courage to make our way to it.
Don Richardson floats on The Stream
3 hours ago