My Soul’s Delight
~ Anita Joyce Skocz
When the sun sets and casts its rays across a glassy smooth lake, there is a playfulness between the light and water that never gets old for me. As I have opened doors to new thoughts, and allowed my imagination to stretch limitlessly, there has been one constant ~ my relationship to water. I can not remember a time that we have not courted. Whether it catches my eye as a crystal clear mountain stream, a small duck housing pond, a large lake encircled by a mysterious forest or a winding river, with no coyness on my part, I surrender instantly to its flirtations. This innate attraction has never been dependant upon its grandness or location; I am seduced by water no matter how it masquerades.
When I ventured from Pittsburgh in 1975, it was no secret that Central Florida was a “water mecca,” and I had no resistance to the alluring call. Maybe it is the Pisces in me, but the attraction has never waivered, whatever the connection ~ water delights my soul.
On one of my weekend excursions in “the Sunshine State,” I found myself drawn to Cypress Gardens. Although it no longer exists, the water ski shows and the gardens in the park were an oasis for me amid the other “action packed” parks. The graceful artfully choreographed skiers were aquatic ballet performers, and as they glided atop of the water I was transfixed and jealous. Their elegant movements left me with a desire to sail across “my love” with a simple ease and a feeling of complete abandonment. Watching was no longer an option; I was determined to do likewise.
Needless to say, on weekends one could find my gang at the beach, or helping me to perfect my passion ~ to dance effortlessly over the aquatic floor. There were days from sunrise to sunset that we would practice maneuvering behind the boats with a determined resolve to mimic the artist at Cypress Gardens. My sister along with my friends turned it into a friendly competition, which facilitated my progress and added to the elation each time a movement was perfected.
The gratification with each triumph gave me a “natural high.” There was no doubt that the water and sun became my cherished pleasures. But, before I mastered the artful craft, a dive into the depths of “my beloved” stole parts of me that were necessary to continue executing the joy filled movements of the aquatic dance. My memories would have to serve me now, as I thought the intimacy of my relationship had ended. Although my eyes could gaze upon the sun and water at play, my soul grieved for our tactile kinship.
Twenty years later, a phone call sparked my innate passion. Rather than the visual pleasure that I learned to value, there was a possibility to embrace “my love” again. At a lake nearby an organization was teaching those paralyzed to water ski ~ my heart raced.
Along with my friend Bonni, and my father and mother, I chose to attend with doubt and hope sparring the entire way. Upon arrival I rolled toward the dock, all my memories of my “water dance” were animated ~ the slumbering athlete awakened. In this moment as the sun beams nuzzled the water, and a pleasant breeze swept through my hair, all my doubts faded. Lined up on the dock were empty wheelchairs, and out on the water “handicapable skiers defied the odds. As tears of joy slid down my cheek, I was approached by an enthusiastic woman ready to manifest a dream ~ I thought lost.
She explained the workings of this adventure, and I listened while watching the magic on the water. There was a seat similar to a child’s car seat bolted to the skis. With the assistance of two very able bodied men, I would be lifted from my chair to the specially crafted ski chair. My feet would slide into the rubber fittings on the skis, and a harness would strap around my chest for the tow rope to attach to me. Since I did not have the use of my hands, it would be necessary for me to put my hands near my shoulders, while tightening my elbows to the side of the chair. To guide myself right or left, I would just lean slightly to either side, while pulling back on the rope with my chest.
Although a bit nervous the familiar sight, sounds and feelings talked me into a comfortable and extremely elated state. In moments that lost intimacy with “my beloved” would be recaptured ~ I sighed.
With all gear intact, these “water angels” slid me off the dock into the lake. As the water enfolded me, every cell in my body remembered the touch and the feel of “my love.” I thanked God for this blessed reunion, and for the angels that flanked each side of me in case I fell under the water. With my skis pointed skyward I gave the boat the signal, and the motor revved. Every part of me adjusted to the different yet familiar pull, I was up! As though a day never passed I was gliding across the water with its fine spray tickling me all over. The sun honored my comeback by casting its rays on the water to add a twinkling diamond effect ~ pure long awaited freedom!
As I skipped over the sparkling waters of the lake, I fantasized being the elegant graceful performer I dreamt about many times. There was magic in my heart, and a deep sense of “all is possible.” When asked if I wanted to go around again, I signaled yes, not ready to give up the joy of liberation as the sun kissed my shoulders and the wind tossed my hair. The day was such an unexpected gift, a date ~ a blissful connection with my soul’s delight.