Sunday, June 29, 2008

Today, when I stepped in the shower, I smelled something I hadn't smelled in a long time.

The scent of chlorine.

Although I am the fire sign of Sagittarius, I was truly born a Water Baby. My first foray into a pool occurred sometime around my sixth month birthday and I've never stopped.

I grew up in a pool. I started swimming competitively around the time I could read chapter books on my own. Early morning practices, biking a few blocks to jump in a cold pool, warming after a few laps back and forth. The snap of the rubber cap against my skull, the depression around my eyes that goggles would leave for hours after practice.

But mostly, what I remember is the scent of chlorine that never seemed to leave my body. Even though swimming indoors was rare (meaning, all of my pool activities happened in the summer), I smelled like chlorine year-round. When I jumped out of the shower, the smell of the pool hung in the air for hours afterwards. Sometimes, in December, I could scratch my arm and smell the pool lingering fresh on my skin.

Eventually, I stopped swimming so much. Early morning practices and hot Saturday meets ended with high school. Lifeguarding ended with college. Summers in Arizona were so hot, the pool felt like bath water and did not feel refreshing enough to make it worthwhile.

I am determined to make The Bean a Water Baby. I want her to love the ocean and the pool as I do, to count down days to summer not to be out of school, but to be in a pool. Last weekend, we took her to her first pool. She seemed a bit hesitant at first, making her serious baby faces. But she warmed up after a bit and by the end, splashed and kicked with gusto. I swam a few laps myself, ecstatic at the silvery feel of the water.

The monsoons have come early this year, and with it, bringing the summer molds which make my allergies go haywire for a few weeks before the rain leaves us for dust for another year. I haven't been smelling much. But today, when I stepped into the shower, I smelled the scent of the pool.

Summer is here.

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