Notes on a weekend

Yesterday I found my way through the woods to the outdoor pool that's only a 20 minute walk from me. This walk took me through a short wooded trail, down a rickety metal staircase which led beneath the bridge/overpass. From the staircase I had to step my way through the detritus a highway produces, down a narrow stream of rocks to the path that runs above the shore, alongside the granary and its railroad, all the way to the park. The pool is wonderful -- huge and level with the inlet. I swam myself to fatigue (doesn't take long these days), did my usual silent impressive laps -- swimming for an audience -- then kicked with a board for about 20 minutes, watching the mountains that rose just above the pool. I've never before watched mountains while swimming. It was a hot, clear day and I had strap marks down my back when I was finished.

Last night -- the glory of sport -- I actually cried -- remembering the glory and the pure thrill of that victory. Strange too to think about how much more vibrant the team victories were. Something maybe about how a personal victory is hard and small -- certain for one person only, like a rock slipped into one's pocket. But the team victory is something different, fuzzier because of the connections, and shared and so it can multiply itself through the others and grow larger perhaps than it would have otherwise. And I watched some of the sprints but, no, I cannot access that sport. I remember running track and never being able to shake the sense of something being wrong as I bent to take my mark. Nothing felt right without water in front of me.

And yesterday, while swimming, I tried to calculate how many laps I must have swum in my life. There's no telling. And I also thought of my fierce pride in the sport -- fierce to the point of exclusion -- strange that sense of righteousness I feel as I hear people speak of swimming, now, when it has been glamorized by this exceptional athlete. I always feel the pride first -- like a twist in a tangle, and then I feel the shame of being narrow and selfish and try to compensate -- and all of this happens in a moment and mostly silently.

Today I read, then ventured out just as rain drops started to fall and went to the used bookstore I had passed a few times thinking it was of the gospel churchy sort (Companion Books with a big sunshine painted on the side ...)

I was happily surprised and hauled home the following 8 titles for a grand total of 50 dollars:

Katherine Mansfield -- The Garden Party
Katherine Mansfield -- Bliss & Other Stories
Thomas Mann -- Death in Venice and Seven Other Stories
Italo Calvino -- Why Read the Classics
Pascal -- Pensees
Bertrand Russell -- The Problems of Philosophy
Kant -- Prolegomena
Plato -- Five Dialogues

The last two largely because a new Hackett edition is largely 5 times the amount I paid for them. They had a wonderfully varied selection of philosophy (though no Gilson which I have yet to find in a used bookstore).

The Mansfield is due mostly to my being swept up by her journals -- though I should make a note here that I have got to stop reading the journals of others -- or at least take longer breaks between journals. They tend to oppress my mind.