oh water water WATER! i cannot imagine a life or a summer without perfect swimming holes. i crave them daily, and sometimes hourly in these hottest months of summer; i'm sure you do too! not only does water hydrate, refresh and heal, i think that it gives our inner workings a little cleansing too. as i've mentioned before, you cannot go to the river, dive in and swim through those currents without perking up your skin, your laughter, your spirit. if you are hungover or grumpy, it washes all that away; if you are anxious, it soothes.
i've had the joy of being to a few different swimming holes in the last week or so. first: the Russian River in healdsburg, lazily swirling around a little hill called Fitch Mountain, where the residents have private beach access year long down a pretty little dusty trail that overlooks rolling vineyard strewn hillsides. the Russian River is a huge gentle river, over 100 miles long, that flows southward to the ocean through the wine country of mendocino and sonoma county.
the friends i was visiting there i got to know almost ten years ago when we worked together at Screamin Mimi's gourmet ice cream shop in Sebastopol. we have an enduring love and sassy friendship that stems from late night mimi's mud gorging, hip hop dance parties, and after-work drinks across the street at jaspers. even though nichole has since moved back to maine, when she comes back to visit (she can't stay away from california) we all get together again!
this time nichole brought her new boyfriend from maine to meet all her "california hippie" friends.
as soon as i got home from my westerly jaunt, becky and jorden called to invite us swimming.
this time, at her dad's newly finished spectacular swimming pool!
it overlooks a vista of the canyon full of manzanita and pine, you can swim right up to the edge and gaze out on ancient whispering hills.
even baby oliver loves to swim!
me and the boys played marco polo, which i haven't done since i was about thirteen. here i am being "it" (...and i was pretty dang good!)
next day, river again! this time my beloved Bucks Bar spot where my brother recently almost died. (whew! still love you river!) the river has gone down so much in the last two weeks it is incredible. supposedly the Cosumnes is the last river on the western slope of the Sierras that is not dammed and it seems to make quite a difference: the river levels change drastically throughout the summer and you gotta go early to get the good clear green waters minus the slimy moss that develops later in august.
this time we had three san francisco gals swimming with us! so of course, some good girl talk in those sweet freshwaters. darin took our picture:
darin, our token dude, wandered up river to explore awhile.
mermaids in the water, oooo what a sight, the best kind of deep summer day.
and last but not least...well okay, definitely least...my own little kiddie pool in my backyard. this thing sees a lot of action all summer, because on my days off i am in there morning, noon and night. and any kid that comes over to my house has to christen it too; even though it's small we can make a killer whirlpool.
i remember when i was young my mom never went swimming. she wouldn't even put on a bathing suit. (now she will, hooray! she camps now too. thanks, jack!) anyway i remember feeling horrified at the idea of never swimming, never feeling that perfect cool release of waters enveloping you, holding your little body and skin and heart for what its worth, knowing you can float, and knowing your body is comprised mostly of this and all of it part of great cosmic cycles. i hope that all of you out there get to feel that perfect bliss every once in a while! it will keep the summertime happy.