Sultana Fatima Ali told me about an early morning swim that is held at Lake Cane. When I arrived there were many cars parked on the street in front of a gorgeous lake front home. As I walked toward the metal gate that blocked the driveway, I bumped into Melissa Swedburg who plays the Viola in the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. She had been to this morning swim before and she said the gate was magic. She walked up to is and it opened all by itself. As we walked back, I noticed a huge perhaps 10 foot high yo-you which was stored in a carport. A sign announced that it was the largest yo-yo in the world according to the Guinness world book of records. Melissa and I talked for a while as we walked towards the backyard of the home, then I let her stretch and get ready and I started to sketch.
A plume of smoke rose up over the lake from a Cape Canaveral rocket launch earlier that morning. As the plums dissipated, the sun rose above the horizon and caused a bright glow behind a tree and gazebo. Runners kept arriving and by the time it was time to swim, there must have been at least 75 people wading out into the water. The owner of the home had on a large cowboy hat. He told me that Adam the family dog always started the morning swim by jumping in the water first. Soon the water was boiling with the frantic strokes of all the swimmers as they started off to the far shore.
Sultana arrived late and asked me to watch her bag. She walked up to the water's edge and made sure her hair was neatly tucked in her skull cap. By the time she got back my sketch was finished. I was surprised when she told me she had swam across the lake twice. When someone goes to this swim for the first time, they get a bumper sticker and they are allowed to sign their name on the back of the home. I went to see this signed wall and the number of names is astonishing. I searched for Sultana's name trying to focus on a grid like search pattern and just looking for the letter S. We had just about given up when she spotted the signature on a spot near a bay window.
As I strive to improve my physical health by running I hope to someday return to this lake, confident in my swimming abilities. I once competed in a Tin Man competition in Seattle. I lost much time in the swim since I swam on my back with my eyes closed. It turns out I was swimming in circles. Several men in a row boat had to beat the waters surface to get my attention and point out to me that I was swimming back to the shore where I had started from! I need to swim with my face in the water doing the crawl like a pro.