The Old Swimming Hole

Reader Contribution by Tobias Whitaker
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Everyone should be so lucky as to know a quiet space in the country where they can go swimming in the dog days of August. A tranquil spot few others know about where they can watch their children chase salamanders and crayfish in a cool, slow moving stream. A special place where they can lure minnows into their patient nets while ankle deep in the mud. The smooth surface of the old swimming hole only broken by skipping stones as Dad shows off the finer techniques of throwing a rock across the water’s surface. A trick he learned as a boy from his granddad near the white bridge creek that flows straight into the rock cut in Guilford. But you already knew that because he tells the same story every time you skip stones with him and you pretend to hear it for the first time, every time.

Everyone should be so lucky to know a place where daisies and forget-me-not line the grassy bank intertwined with buttercups and purple clover while bees hover like zeppelins among the pollen and petals. Silence is the canvas for nature to spread her peacock plume of scent, sight and sound. A place where the humidity of late summer is gracefully removed by the breeze that delicately cuts through the beech and pine. A safe and comfortable location where even the youngest among us can explore while lying on a blanket spread under a crab apple tree, their brother and sisters laughing in the water.

Everyone should be so lucky to know a place where woodpecker holes tattoo old tree trunks along the water’s edge. These same trees providing cover for squirrels that scamper to hide winter treats. A divine spot where the sun shines eternal and touches the core of our most pleasant self. A serene spot where Mom and Dad hold hands enjoying their children’s laughter as they discover grumpy bullfrogs relaxing in the shallows. A secret place where the song birds serenade from deep in the green foliage while insects snap and hiss in a meditative, relaxing hum. A place where you watch the water drift slowly from view to replenish the waterfall that feeds the old country swimming hole, generation after generation.

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