It was our last morning at our family gathering in Fallbrook; time to pack up the house, clean up and drive back to Berkeley. There wasn’t time to find an open water adventure so I swam in the pool this morning.
Leading up to this family gathering, I imagined many of my daily swims would end up being in this pool. For nearly twenty years my extended family has been gathering in a big house once a year and we usually plop ourselves down and never leave the premises. Since 2014 we’ve been renting the house we are currently in, which is a pretty fancy abode that we can afford because it’s far from the coast. It’s gigantic; there is a bedroom and bathroom for each of us, huge comfortable rooms to gather, a movie room where the kids congregate late into the night and eventually fall asleep in a big cousin pile. And there’s a lovely pool. It’s not exactly a lap pool. It’s a pool for watching the sunset over the edge of the canyon; a pool for cousins playing in the water from morning until night (there’s even a water slide!).
It’s a pool for relaxing with family and catching up on a year’s worth of life. But given the location of this house and our propensity for staying put, I figured this kidney-shaped lounge pool would probably end up the site of most of my swims this week and I was already worrying about how boring it would be to blog about it for six days straight. It was an unexpected joy that I didn’t have to. That my cousin Kathleen was up earlier than me each morning and was enthusiastic about going in search of open water.
But this morning was pool time. I slipped into the warm water early in the morning and did some meandering laps for a half hour while the day grew brighter and the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds. As I swam, I thought back to all of the years we’ve been swimming in this pool and pools like it in other rental houses. From the days of sunburned kids who required constant supervision for their hours upon hours of playing in the water to the gorgeous teens and young adults who now splash around long after I’ve gone to bed, this pool has witnessed our family grow and change. I imagined the conversations captured in this water, the memories made here. As I swam, I whispered thank you to my lucky stars (and my Aunt Elaine) for this leisurely week of agenda-less fun with people that I love.