Swimming with the Nuns…

…is over. About ten years ago, Neighbor Mary and I started swimming at a convent/conference center near my house. Tuesdays and Thursdays, we went to water aerobics at eight-thirty a.m. and then often, I’d swim laps with the sisters on Wednesdays and Fridays. I love to swim…I don’t follow astrology, so I have no idea if Libras are water people, as opposed to air and earth and fire. I just know I love being in the water. I always have.

I learned to swim in Lake Michigan. My mom taught all four of us kids when we’d go up to Muskegon State Park for camping weekends.  She insisted we all be able to save ourselves, if necessary, in the cold water of the lake—good thinking, Mom. Then I swam in high school—the only part of gym class that interested me in the least. I’m a damn good swimmer and I love the weightless feeling of being in the water. No, it’s not necessary to call in Sigmund to figure that one out—big woman, weightlessness—pretty obvious, I know.

But it’s more than that. The water is peaceful place and swimming is a Zen thing for me. Whatever else is going on in my life can be soothed away if I’m gliding through the water. Some of my best story ideas have come to me while I’ve been in the pool. So, when finances (or rather, lack thereof) forced the nuns to close the conference center and the pool at the beginning of this year, I was very sad.  I was sure I’d never find another great place to swim.

But I was wrong. My Sis  PJ, and Mary and  I discovered a new gym almost exactly halfway between us and the pool is gorgeous, surrounded by huge windows on three sides, and always sparkling clean.  Mary,  PJ, and I swim laps side by side in the sunshine or we go to water aerobics classes if we’re looking for more of a workout. It’s a great place, we’re having fun, and we get to spend time together. So, one door closed, but another one opened.

I miss swimming with nuns…even more I miss saying that I swim with the nuns because inevitably, I was asked, “What do nuns wear to swim?” And I got to make up something really outrageous and fun, like “they swim in their habits, wimples and all” or “well, this isn’t widely known, but nuns skinny dip. After all, it’s their pool and that’s how God made them.”  Now that the pool is closed, I can reveal the truth—nuns swim in swimsuits, just like you and I. Sorry…wish it were more entertaining.


  • Deborah Blake (Witchy Betty)

    It sounds lovely. Sorry about the nuns, but I’m glad you found another place. I never really learned to swim–I can do the world’s slowest breast stroke for a bit, but I’ve never really gotten comfortable in water over my head (although I love the water).

  • Mary Stella

    I also love to swim and am an all-around water woman. I think it comes from growing up at the shore and living most of my years within sight of the ocean. I’m sorry you can’t swim with the nuns anymore but am glad that you found a new place so share with your sister!

    • admin

      MS, even though I grew up on the prairie in Indiana, we spent summers on the shore of Lake MI, so I’m a water baby all the way! I’ll miss the nuns, but I’m having a grand time with Sis! Thanks for coming by!!