Half-past August

The Sun at Seven

In only one week, a lot has shifted and changed. First up is that we’ve turned the corner on summertime. Even when it’s hot we can tell that it can’t last, won’t stay forever. Summer’s already moved to another spot on the dial, another frequency. Combining this with the full moon leaves us in other territory. The sun’s ever so slightly lower at 7pm and this is how I know: I felt it at the end of the aquafit class. (Not aquavit as autocorrect so helpfully suggested.)

Kitsilano Pool in Vancouver looks past the harbour to mountains in the north, and the city below them seems far away and filled with light. The 6-7 aquafit class has so much going for it: the sun’s to the west, and the whole thing is just ecstatic. There’s lots of space to move, and there’s a little white moon high in the blue sky above the instructor’s head as she demos the moves. She is our priestess. When we all jump up with our arms outstretched to the sky, we could be goddess worshippers in the sea. I love it. I have a confession, though. After living in Vancouver for decades, I came to this pool for the first time only two weeks ago. I felt like I’d discovered a secret heaven that I’d been missing for years. Take a look:

Yes, it’s delicious. The image is great, but you have to actually be there to get it. What being there adds to the image is the feeling, but isn’t that always the case? Oh, I’d known about the pool. “Kits pool,” I’d say, like everybody else. But I hadn’t, pardon the pun, had the full immersive experience. Now I’ve discovered it almost too late in the season. It’s half-past August, late summer.

I felt chilled coming out of the water at 7pm with the breeze and that angle of the sun. It was telling me what the trees know when they feel that frequency. They still have green leaves but are quietly preparing for the slow down. The mild foreshadowing breeze told me this.

What’s so wrong, exactly, with being in a cold soggy bathing suit and having some goosebumps on my arms after being in the pool? Is it my mum or my grannie warning me I could catch my death? Towelling my shivering arms and legs, rolling my clammy suit down to my feet, I quickly pulled on my clothes. The crowded change room felt humid, sticky. I shoved my suit and towel into their bag, and got out of there fast.

Damp but dressed, we stopped for a bit to watch two young flamenco dancers on the outdoor stage by the pool. Older, the experienced guitarist and singer sat behind, and the singer’s dark commanding song held them in its spell. I heard her duende. At that angle, everything under the sun was gold.

Thanks to Julia Manitius for her photo of the pool that day.

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