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The Swimming Hole


SLIM RANDLESHome Country
Fiction by SLIM RANDLES
To The Desert Independent

July 24, 2020

There is in the splashing of the creek a great spray of diamonds. As each youngster sails like an astronaut out on the tire swing, then releases the hold on the earth to flail, suspended in time and space for that brief second or two, there is a timelessness, a postponement of all things evil and destructive, an affirmation of joy.

The swimming hole in Lewis Creek has been there since Indian times, of course, and the tire swing was probably preceded by simply a rope with knots in it. It is one of the summer lodestones of our existence.

Each summer we have to make our pilgrimage in the hot sun to the hole below the little waterfall, to the place were Lewis Creek widens and deepens for the benefit of hot, dry people before becoming just a creek again. And in this widening of the creek, this sacred place in our summer lives, we also play witness to the passage of years.

Across the creek from the tree with the tire swing, the gravelly bottom extends gently with almost no current for ten feet or so. This is the baby beach, where squealing tots are allowed to cool off without benefit (or hindrance) of any more covering than the smiles of their parents.

As the children grow, they venture farther out into the current of the creek and test their strength against the forces of nature. By the time a youngster is eight or ten, the seduction of the tire swing becomes overwhelming and the flailing of the arms and legs against the blue of the sky begin. Later still, when gangliness becomes fluidity and sleekness, and we want to make catlike moves to attract the opposite sex, the tire is used as a swinging platform for exquisite dives into the deep part of the creek where the big trout lie in cold holes.

And as we age, and we watch our children come to love the hole in Lewis Creek, and as we sip lemonade in the shade as our grandchildren work their ways up the swimming hole chain of life, we can look at the splashing of the creek and see, with each sleek dive, with each laughing bellyflop, the diamonds of the creek sent skyward, and the laughter stays with us and keeps us strong and makes us feel rich, and fortunate.

It is unnecessary to say the hole in Lewis Creek is an important part of our lives, because it, along with so many other treasures of the years, really is our lives.

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"Home Country" columnist Slim Randles won three regional book awards for the two books he wrote in 2014. "Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing" won for best how-to book and best cover design at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards in Albuquerque. Randles lives in Albuquerque and has a dozen books currently in print.



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