Night Two of my new passion...floating in the pool at night!
The perfect answer to lost goggles and stiff rotator cuffs...
Tonight was warm, but overcast and cloudy. It had drizzled earlier. I went down to the Troy Towers pool about 9:45pm, stepped to the foot of the deep end, took a breath and dove in. The water was delicious, warmed to about 78 degrees. I was alone, again. The underwater lights cast a shimmering blue glow. I felt the friction of the water massaging my limbs as I cut briefly through this miraculous medium and eventually surfaced. I flipped over and assumed my position: back arched, legs comfortably suspended, arms gently waving, just enough to counter any drift, keep me prone and focused on the endless space above me.
The night before was crystal clear: stars twinkling, airplanes winking. New York City was out of sight. This was a totally new view, a new experience, unlike that which I see every day. The air was warm. I lay there, staring at the monolith of Troy Towers upside-down, curved outward, side wings reaching as if to embrace the sky. I gazed up at the neat rows of balcony railings, the dotted lines of cinderblock walls that separate our apartments into perfect columns. Amid the shadowy checkerboard I noticed some ceiling fans slowly rotating, casting flickers of light, breathing life into this otherwise dark silhouette. Time seemed to stand still as I lay there, suspended in my private isolation tank, listening to the echoey "pings" of the sporadic underwater movement.
Tonight the sky was gray, clouds illuminated by the unseen lights of the city. The blinking red and white of an airplane peeked through the haze and made its way across the night. I looked up again at the strange upside-down vision of the building, narrowing to an unseen vanishing point in the heavens. Tonight there were no fans whirling. There was a feeling of stillness on this Friday summer night, and I imagined couples out on the town, young people dashing out to parties, and seniors nodding sleepily in front of too-loud TV's. The air and the water blended almost indiscernibly about my face, and I closed my eyes to enjoy the weightlessness and tranquility of this moment.
Suddenly I felt a pleasant, gentle prickling sensation as tiny raindrops started bouncing off my face. I opened my eyes and took in the glamorous sparkle of miniature fountains sprouting from the water's surface as the pinpoints of rain impacted their destination and took life from the multi-colored underwater floodlights. The tiny fountains flashed like diamonds in one direction, emeralds in another. After a while I lay back down on the water's surface, assumed my position and slowly, reluctantly, tread towards the upside-down ladder behind me.
Life is good, if you know how to "float."
- by Paula Brown, August 13, 2005