I awaken this morning determined to take a morning swim.
I lower myself into the water one rung at a time, water and air temperature about the same, sun warming my shoulders. As always, I let myself get used to the water slowly, paying attention to the process and to the anticipation of the moment when I must take a plunge, finding that there is no possibility of keeping it all gradual.
Once in the water, I set off in a steady breaststroke, giving one word of the morning blessings to each stroke:
Baruch...Atah...Adonai...Eloheynu...Chey...HaOlamim...Hama'avir...Shenah...Me'eynay...Utnamah...Me'afapay...Blessed...are You...the Awakener...our God...Life...of all the Worlds...who removes...sleep...from my eyes...and slumber...from my eyelids.
And so on through the 15 blessings of the liturgy.
I am particularly aware of how different "roka ha-aretz al hamayim" (who stretches forth the earth upon the waters) is in water rather than on land. And I am amused by "hamechin mitzadey gaver" (who makes firm a person's steps) as I kick my feet.
Midway through I flip onto my back and continue with a backstroke -- one word per each arm's stroke -- while I watch prisms of light glitter in the water droplets I stir up, mesmerized by the ever-changing clouds overhead.
I am so blessed to awaken in this manner!
#BlogElul for 17 Elul 5773