I am learning just how little I have ever learned of how others learn to swim. Me, I got chucked in the ocean and so, naturally, have no comprehension of gentle floating upon outstretched arms or intermittent bobbing to allow me to learn how to stay above water. Instead, I met mermaids and jellyfish; found the magic that lets one breathe water. I met Neptune, sitting upon a reef, holding court over sharks and sailors who had washed overboard. He thought to cite me for contempt, but I made him laugh and so instead, he granted me his jester’s cap (a wreath of seaweed, studded with silt rocks) and gave me leave to dwell in the deeps.
I still do not understand why no one enjoys the frightful fall into deep waters and everyone I’ve tried to teach the breathing magic drowns. I have grown tired of lifeless faces and the feeling of failure, and today, mostly sit upon the shore and dabble toes in the tidal surge. On occasion, someone joins me. But they never follow me very far; the legendary terrors won’t let them; riptides and sharks, sea monsters and Davy Jones, and the fear of asphyxiation, of course.
Or it may just be that it is a foolish thing to expect that anyone, given a choice, would want to to learn how to swim as I did. But you know how it is, you tend to think that maybe you can show them it isn’t really that scary once you get over being scared out of your mind.