Saturday, December 10, 2016

700th Post

This is my first ever milestone post. I did not do it for the 100th or 200th or 300th post. Nor did I do it for numbers 400, 500, or 600. But for my 700th post, I am taking the time to reflect on this blog, what I have done, what I am likely to do, and a bit about why I do it.

I began this experiment on July 21st, 2012. My first post was titled "HOD Training" (Heart 'O Dixie) and recounted a massive training session Randy Beets and I did in preparation for this state's biggest and best triathlon. We swam Twin Rivers pool and rode our bicycles to Phillip where we had lunch and then rode back. After the ride back, we ran four miles. That post pretty much set the tone for the blog: primarily this was, is, and will remain an athletic journal, a place for me to record my training, reflect on my performances, and dream of new athletic adventures.

Over the years, however, EndangeredSwimmer has slowly but surely expanded in scope and purpose. The description currently found in the header on the home page has not always been there. It states that the besides being an athletic journal, this blog is a repository of an occasional essay, and even more occasionally, a piece of fiction. Speaking of fiction, I have not written any of that lately. I need to return to my Poot series. That is one of my goals over the Christmas Break.

Of late EndangeredSwimmer has once more expanded in scope. The past few months have seen me putting up some of my poetry. That surprised me because I never fancied myself a poet. Maybe I still am less than a real poet, but I am composing both free verse and haikus. In large measure, this new emphasis on an old art has been inspired by one of my students, Samuel Lott. Sam, a real poet, is bold enough to inform me that my haikus are no good. I am grateful for his honest feedback, but really I don't care. They are my poems and as mine, I love them like I do my children, my grandchildren, and my cats. They are mine and I embrace them, hug then, hold them. They represent my thought, my feelings, and like pictures of my babies, they are beautiful.

All of that brings me to motivation. I am both surprised and flattered when someone reads my posts. But if no one ever read, I would still write because I love writing and EndangeredSwimmer gives me a reason, a place, and a purpose to compose sentences and paragraphs that mean something to me. At work, we once had a president that everyone agreed loved to hear himself talk. Well, I admit it: I love to hear myself write. I am now old enough to know that if there is something we love to do, God had blessed us with that and the least we can do is thank Him by enjoying the passion He has placed in our life. 

And that brings me to something else: swimming. July 21, 2012, was only a little more than a month removed from the first Chicot Challenge. I wanted to document, preserve, and promote my open water efforts which have providentially been in service of the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. That first Challenge raised funds for the American Diabetes Association. After the swim, Mary Fortune of the DFM contacted me and asked me to consider them if I ever did anything like that again. Frankly, I was flattered then and remain so today that anyone would want my services. I hooked my efforts to their cause and have remained with them since. I only wish more people would contact me and ask me to swim for them. I was in my fifties when I accidentally (providentially that is) slid into marathon swimming. It is a gift I didn't know I had. I have squandered one gift so I know what that is like. By the grace of God, I will not squander this one.

So I swim and I write and one day I will die. When I pass, I hope my son keeps this blog alive as a way to honor me and to document his own journey.