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Perspective: Goodbye To Summer

Paula Garrett

One of my favorite short stories is “The Swimmer” by John Cheever. The protagonist, Neddy, wakes up the morning after another big party and decides to swim home through the pools of a dozen or so of his friends. It’s quite the journey -- starting off sunny and summery and ending … well I won’t be a spoiler. The story appeals on multiple levels, but the lasting images are the pools themselves and the idea of swimming through suburbia.

My swims through suburban public pools have ended for the season. Labor Day always comes so abruptly. Now plastic palm trees sway over the empty pools and that inimitable summer setting evaporated overnight. The varying depths, shapes, and colors -- especially that swimming pool blue -- is it turquoise, sapphire, cerulean?

It’s the kind of blue we see in paintings by Hockney and Matisse. Blue that says dive into the endless summer like a surfer. Cheever’s colors change along the way, and Neddy is “embraced and sustained by the light-green water (that) seemed not as much a pleasure as the resumption of a natural condition.”

On closing day I swam alongside a pregnant woman in a two piece. I pictured the baby doing the back stroke as the two of them zoomed past my slow crawl. Before leaving, I turned over on my back and watched the clouds swimming in the blue above.

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.

Paula Garrett is a transplanted Southerner and a former WNIJ Blues host. She's passionate about music, travel, research, open water swimming and film.