July 11, 2015

Swimming Outside The Buoys

Swimming Outside The Buoys
By John R. Greenwood

Swimming outside the buoys invigorates the spirit. 

Dancing with danger tempts the soul. 

Looking at boundaries from the outside injects the senses with adrenaline and places the mind on high-alert. 

That is what I see here. 

I live inside the buoys; where it's safe. I've never been the one to dive off the high bank or run to the line at the thrill ride. No, I was the one standing in the shadows watching. But for the uncontrollable full throttle blast down a country road on a motorcycle my experience outside the buoys has been from the bank. 

That is what I felt when I took this simple photograph. 

Always being the one to hesitate before acting has its benefits; I'm still here. The peril to swimming outside the buoys is  real. There's always a chance you won't return. I never watch videos of "Extreme Anything" and wish that was me. I'm happy being 'me' within the buoys--mostly safe, mostly happy, always within sight of shore and within earshot of comfortable. 

That's who I am. 

Sometimes it takes the same courage of those outside the buoys for those on the inside to say that out loud. 

That's who I try to be. 

I don't need a bungee jump to prove anything to anyone. I know who I am and what makes me tick. 

I enjoy the thrill and freedom of not having to prove anything to anybody. I have one person to impress and she's known since 1974 that the most dangerous thing I do involves power tools. 

What triggered this piece first was the photo. The second was watching the nightly news. Another high altitude story of rescue and recovery got me thinking about the lives of those having to risk their lives because others choose to risk their own. At whose expense is "Extreme Anything" enough? I often wonder why, in order to "feel alive," we need to "flirt with death?" 

To me it's simply turned into one-upmanship. I can out scare, out thrill, out do you, and I'll do it until I break a body part. 

I'll show you. 

"Big whup."

Dare instead to be different, to stand alone among strangers and declare, "I'm fine right where I am, here within the buoys, in water to my knees, not my neck." 

No matter which side of the buoys you swim on, it's your choice and your responsibility, not someone else's. 

Swim safe wherever it might be, it's a jungle out there. 

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