Swimming Holes

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.


Amanda said…
We try to hit my mother's pool every weekend we can. You're so luck to live so close to so many sources!
Teeny said…
oh yes. I concur. Swimming water is a part of Summer i don't want to do without. We have a kiddy pool too, my babes spend their afternoons paddling about when it's hot; and heck, I'll get in to cool off as well. Love your smiley pics.
Missa said…
That pool is insane! and bucks bar looks like such a beautiful spot.

I tell ya, I could go for some late night mimi's mud gorging right about now. I think my Jaspers days may be all but over though, haha :)

Sadly, it has cooled down considerably around here, I want the river weather back!

Much love mermaid girl!
Missa said…
Haha, just so you know, I was referring to Becky's dad's pool, not that your kiddie pool isn't somethin' special in its own way ;)
Celynne said…
I'm trying to get in as much swimming as I can this year, hoping to do a lot of it this weekend again.

That pool looks amazing though, oh my goodness! Talk about a luxury! I'd spend all day floating around on a mattress, drinking lemon berry iced tea and reading.

It really is so lovely to swim :)
Anonymous said…
i am living vicariously through your summer, hard. thank you for so eloquently describing the magic and NECESSITY of swimming in summer, especially in a special spot. there is a way that a full day of hot summer and cold water penetrates to the bones of the soul and washes them clean. delicious.

i read your post about your brother a few days ago, btw and it has stuck with me. i have noticed that same thing about summer...it seems almost incongruous...all that sunlight would seem to chase the flipside away...yet i have noticed that the mid-day sun illuminates everything, especially what hides in the shadows, and summer often contains a certain amount of reckoning for me. i am so glad your brother is ok and doubly glad you waited out the day and let the experience transmute you...open hearts hooray! xo
Nicky said…
Beautiful post! Those watering holes are pretty darn amazing!!! And I think I'm actually part fish. They couldn't pry me out of the water when I was little, and I'm still the same. My mama was a bit of a fish too though! How fun that yours is camping AND swimming now! :D Happy Thursday lady!
Kelsie Lynn said…
Hey! I really loved what you said on my last post. Thank you! LA is one crazy land. I've been around a bit more (with a local) and I saw glimpses of a cooler place than I originally thought. I guess you just gotta know who to be with/where to go and what to do.

I was looking up how far you are away from here but it just doesn't seem like I'll be able to see you! I really really want to though. in the future, yes, it will happen.
That looks like such a lovely and relaxing place to spend a summer's day. Your blog banner is beautiful, by the way! =)

Jo said…
I am obsessed with swimming! I can't wait for the weather to warm up in wintery New Zealand so I can head off to the beach!

Lost in the Haze
Milla said…
Goshness! I've so not been showing C. these river shots, because I'm afraid he might get bummed out. When we were by your rivers he was totally rhapsodizing about coming out sometime and really exploring. Our waters are so cold and the air isn't hot enough for most to brave them and what little ponds we have, are no match to really immersing yourself into the elements. These shots make me miss the shallow lakes and huge ponds that I grew up around, the lazy days of basking on the dock and jumping in, over and over and over. The warm, almost inland ocean that is the Gulf of Finland, its smooth cliffs and sheltered coves. I have soft spot for rivers, their mystery and flight, different from the unfathomable depths of the ocean. Someday I hope we can experience this first hand, but for now, I'm grateful for these glimpses of California sun and sparkle.

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