We were holding hands as we dove beneath the surface. “You ready, mama? One, two, three,” and Briar squeezed my hand. My head tucked, I threw my back toward the surface and drove my legs into the water as I pushed us below. Once we were under her grip loosened and I watched her body move, without hesitation, this way and that. Her legs are long, the line from hip to knee is smooth until her knees bump out, then down to her calves, strong and compact over her tiny ankles.
I let her get ahead of me, fingers barely touching, she could be fifteen for the certainty with which she navigates the rock faces and drop offs. We swam like that, wildly pointing out sunfish and gnarly limbs, for the longest time. Each time we surfaced we sought out one another’s eyes. Breathless, grinning and in complete awe of what we’d seen we’d pant, “Again?” And down we’d go.
Later I dove with Avery. She’d grab my shoulders, draw in a deep breath and ride me down beneath the surface to push off and kick toward whatever caught her eye. Her lines are different, bolder. Underwater her muscles come alive, straining beneath her skin in ways that declare ability. I lagged behind so that I could watch the movement as she kicked, her backside and hamstrings sluicing through the water and shooting her ahead. Shorter than her sister, but more powerful. Every single thing about her shape works to her advantage as she shimmies and hurdles through the underwater world.
Surfacing with Ave was different. A gasp, sneeze and then, “Ready?” She was the one who pulled me along to see the message set in stone. Dozens of rocks stacked 10 feet below the lake’s surface reading, “Be happy.” I paused down there, Ave’s hand in mine, and shouted, “I am.”
I don’t always realize it in the moment, but out there in the lake and today, driving beneath a pink sunset I choked up with just how much happiness surrounds me.
Lean lines or solid strength, our beauty is in our motion toward joy.
Go toward it, it feeds everything.