Voice of a Spanish Dancer – Refracted Bliss

Published January 10, 2015 by rochellewisoff

Copy of Mermaid


Sub-zero-degree temperatures and frigid winds for the past week have kept me indoors. Whenever I’ve thought about making the less-than-a-mile trek to the fitness center I’ve talked myself out of it. Although my vacation plans included swimming to my heart’s content, stinging cold has made it easy to curl up with a hot cup of coffee instead.

            This morning the walls close in on me and I’m drowning in a sea of despair. I know what I need to do. No matter how cold, wet or icy, I’ll let nothing stand between me and the lap pool.

            I pack my gym bag and layer two sweaters, jeans and a heavy coat over my swimsuit. My car’s thermostat reads 16º.

            In the locker room I hurriedly peel off the layers and head for the pool. It’s uninhabited and the water’s a clear sheet. All mine.

            I slip in and submerge fully then propel myself through the cool water that rushes over and carries me to another place.  

            Sunlight shining through the long windows paints ribbons across the pool’s blue floor.

            Smoother than silk, water is a lover’s gentle caress that massages my bare skin and whispers peaceful words of reassurance in my ear. “You are alive. You are changing. You are safe.”




It was so worth it!

It was so worth it!

46 comments on “Voice of a Spanish Dancer – Refracted Bliss

  • Dear Rochelle,

    If you walked that mile you’d be warm by the time you got there and then the water would seem cold, so it’s a good thing you drove.

    Very nice to see you dancing in the water again.




    • Dear Allan,

      Water is most definitely my happy spot. But when it’s this cold it’s hard to remember. However I learned a long time ago and in a most dramatic way that for me, swimming is more effective than any antidepressant on the market.

      Thank you for liking and commenting.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I can’t wait to get back outside for my walking, but with the temperatures here barely poking above zero (before wind chill) and no warm water at the end, I’ve been staying in this week. Glad you made the trek, even if in the car, and felt renewed.



    • Dear Dawn,

      I’ve heard many times that healing is a process not an event. I think perhaps I should’ve written that I was sinking in a sea of self-pity. It’s a matter of over analyzing. At least that’s what one of therapists used to point out. According to another very dear friend, I pole vault to conclusions.
      Between that and, I believe, more than a touch of SAD, etc etc. I allowed myself to get to that point.

      Thank you for your comforting words. They’re more than a little appreciated.

      Shalom and Sh’vua tov, Je suis Charlie, Je suis juif,


      Liked by 1 person

  • Sorry to hear you got so down before you swam, but I’m glad the pool brought you floating right up to the top again. An important lesson there for us all, and beautifully written as always.
    These cold weeks are keeping Sebastian and I indoors a lot too – when the radio announcers warn ‘danger of frostbite’, there’s not a lot will make me let a two-year-old leave the house. We’re both going stir-crazy though, so like you, I’ve had to make a few short trips just to keep us sane.


    • Dear Jennifer,

      I know how it is being couped up with a little one. We’ve had ‘danger of frostbite’ warnings this week as well. Just walking across a parking lot can rip the skin right off your face. 😉

      Between over thinking a situation, a health scare and a bit seasonal affective disorder I let myself sink to the pits. Probably more self-pity than despair. At any rate, for me, swimming almost always brings me out of it.

      Thank you for coming by with our affirming words.




  • Rochelle, I remember that freezing cold from northeastern Ohio where I grew up. I don’t know if I could take it these days. It’s even cold in India. It gets down to the 40’s or 50’s here. I’m sitting with a heavy sweater on and a lap robe around my shoulders.as there’s no interior heating in homes here. Pune is in the mountains so it’s cooler than Mumbai, similar to the winters in southern Carifornia. I envy you that pool and car heater. Have a great day! 🙂 — Suzanne


    • Dear Suzanne,

      It’s all relative, isn’t it? My kids in California complain when the temps are in the 50’s. Right now that would seem balmy. The flip side of this is that by June we could be griping about temps in the triple digits. Although 40’s and 50’s without heat in the house would be uncomfortable.

      I am thankful for my heated car, garage and the pool in close proximity. I’d be happy to share. 😉

      Thank you for commenting.




    • Dear Liz,

      I think if f I lived by a beach, I’d be a perpetual prune ;). We went to St. Thomas ten years ago for our son’s wedding and I lived in a swimsuit. But on the other hand, the pool is so close that I’m really without excuse…well aside from work schedules, swim team schedules. But there are times like this week when I just flat talk myself out of it.

      Jail fever…good way of putting it.

      Thank you.




  • I know that dilemma, Rochelle, although I walk by the gym on my way to work and I still don’t want to go. 🙂 My wife usually swims in the morning, but doesn’t know if she wants to walk home with wet hair in these temperatures. It’s usually rewarding when you do go, as you said.


    • Dear David,

      Morning’s the best time to swim. I couldn’t go after work because the swim team pretty much has if after 15:00. I’ve used the wet hair excuse until yesterday. I just slapped the hat over it. 😉

      Thanks for coming by and commenting.




      • I have had bad knees for years and they’ve gotten worse, so exercising is hard. My wife keeps trying to get me to go swimming but I’m not that good and I’m not a morning person so it’s hard to make myself. Maybe one day.


  • Perhaps only other swimmers can fully appreciate the joy of swimming and the feel of the water on the skin. I’m also addicted to the pastime, winter or not. It’s such an enjoyable way to keep fit.


    • Dear Millie,

      It’s always nice to meet a kindred spirit. There’s nothing like swimming, is there? I don’t understand those who are fearful of water. But then I’m terrified of heights, unless it’s deep water. 😉

      Thank you for freestyling by.



      PS Do you have a favorite stroke?


      • I do love the crawl (freestroke) but I can’t manage more than a length of it at a time. The same goes for backstroke. I seem to be able to go for ever doing breaststroke, though. It’s all to do with getting the breathing right, with me. But, like you, I feel totally invigorated after a good swim. I also agree that it’s sometimes hard to drag yourself off to the sport’s centre when it’s freezing – yet I’m always glad when I have done!


        • I’m not a fast swimmer, Millie. And I vary my strokes to keep it interesting. Breast is what I cool down with and use for ‘playtime.’ I never learned to do the butterfly but admire those who can. One of my ultimate dreams is to become scuba certified.

          I’ve been snorkeling and it’s an amazing experience.


    • Dear Hilary,

      I try to get in at least once a week, more when I’m on vacation. This past weekend taught me how important it is to me both physically and emotionally. And it is always nice to bet warm and dry again.

      Thanks for kicking by.




  • Good for you Rochelle!
    I’ve struggle to keep up with my workouts this winter. For me it is more the gray skies that discourage me then the cold weather.
    They say the hardest part about working out is putting on your tennis shoes (for you I assume that would be swim suit!) and so often that is true. Once I make myself go…I feel fabulous!
    Here’s to a short winter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Tree,

      It’s so easy to just curl up under a blanket for the winter. We’ve had days of bleak gray skies with an occasional sunny (but frigid) day.

      So true. Once I can get the suit on I’m committed…then the swim cap and goggles. The first lap is always a chiller but it’s a good kind of cold. It’s the cold that wakes me up and reminds me that I’m alive.

      Agreed. To a short winter! L’Chaim!




  • Brrrrr…I’ve never been weather that cold!! I think it’s wonderful that you braved the cold to go for a swim. Being in the water has always brought me a sense of peace and comfort. Some say that’s because it reminds us of being in our mother’s womb. I’m not sure if that’s it, but I am sure that I always feel better after being near and in the water :-). Stay warm!!


    • Dear Kirsten,

      I had a therapist suggest that my love of swimming had something to do with subconscious memory of my mother’s womb. I don’t know about that, but I do feel more at peace in the water than almost anywhere else.

      I hate extreme temperatures one way or the other. I’m curious. Where are you that you’ve never had the joy of this kind of cold weather?



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle, Wonderful story! I love swimming too, it’s really the only kind of exercise that I enjoy because of less stress on my knees. I have gone over to the exercise club several times in the winter but in the winter – the thought of going out in the cold to come home doesn’t seem exciting at all. I’m glad you enjoy it! Nan


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