The Greek lady shook her head; it’s too dangerous to swim. I dove in.

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Swimming at Lambi Beach in the roughest surf I’ve ever encountered. The Greek lady who runs the café shook her head when she saw me stripping to my swimsuit. She gestured toward the huge waves pounding within inches of her restaurant patio and actually splashing us while we stood there. Clearly, it was too dangerous to swim. I dived in. The force of the first few waves nearly took my breath away but once I got out beyond the surf line I could struggle along. I couldn’t make much headway because all my energy went to getting to the top of a wave, being thrown down and then scrambling to the top of the next wave. I started meditating on the value of human life as I swam along not making much forward progress and then I saw a shark go by underneath my feet. Greece does not have a shark problem; it’s not California, but the day before the winds had been 65 miles/hour and they hadn’t died down much by this morning so I wondered if fish might be closer to shore than usual. Mark was surprised that I came back in under an hour. I think he expected me to swim to Turkey but today was not my day for Turkish delight. It’s actually 56 miles so you could get there easily by boat.

I finished Lorrie Moore’s short story collection Self Help. Everyone else has already read it, but I read pretty randomly for an editor. In her work, there is a lot of cheating. People are always cheating on their mates. Her writing isn’t clever which can get old, instead it has this clear level quality that’s like pouring language over a waterfall. You see it falling and you can’t stop yourself from being with it down to the crash in the pool below. She’s a wonderful writer. I read Ursula LeGuin’s Wild Girls too, a wonderful gem of a book. And now that I’ve met her and read with her, I feel a rush of warmth just thinking about her.

Greece has been good for breathing. Good for thinking too.

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Published in: on July 5, 2014 at 2:09 am  Leave a Comment  

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