Thursday, October 12, 2006
Swimming in October
Summer leaves me drained emotionally and physically. I loath the heat, the sweating and the hiding within the confines of an air conditioned room. I part company with both my motorcycle and bicycle during the dead of summer and instead move around in a four-wheeled cage. I suspend my nightly 30-minute walk around the park. My reading slows down, my intellect is put on hold. The only two viable options for me, when work permits, is to go either to the beach or up the mountains to cool down. In the summer, I am more of the mountain type. I’d rather spend the whole three hot months there. But family and job don’t share my disposition and a compromise is often negotiated on a day to day basis.
October is my favorite month. I’m most active in the fall. I also get in the mood for some serious thinking. Most importantly, this is the time I truly enjoy being all alone.
This year, with the concurrence of October and Ramadan, my regular flow of events has been diverted off its usual course. Normally, I would take every opportunity to jump on my bike during this period of perfect weather. Last year, I went on riding my motorcycle every Ramadan afternoon for a couple of hours. I chose a random destination everyday through the twisting mountain roads and tracks. On the hour mark, I’d head back in a general westerly direction to find myself near Tartous on either of its two sides, north or south. I used to make it home a few minutes before the cannon, although not always. When I joined the family at the Iftar table, I’d be met with the disapproving eyes of wife and children. “Allah Yehdih” = “May God guide him to what’s best” would be written all over their faces.
Unfortunately this year, on doctor’s orders, I have to avoid the long bike rides. For the younger ones who are reading this, it would be a little difficult to explain, but the older we get the harder we are to maintain. A big pot hole in the middle of the road has more damaging effect on my back than on my twenty-year old Yamaha. So, also on doctor’s orders, I channeled my energy into swimming, everyday swimming that is. I’ll let you in on a little Tartoussi secret. October is the best month of the year to truly enjoy the beach and the sea. The crowds are gone, the winds calm down and the water is crystal clear. I normally swim year round, skipping only when it’s raining or windy. Nah, I am not a macho tough guy, I just wear a wetsuit when the cold starts biting.
So now you know that I love October. But I also happen to have a secret mistress. Her name is November and I can’t wait any longer for her arrival.
I have taken a few pictures of the beautiful deserted beach and posted them on My Flickr for you to enjoy.