Book Excerpt: Unwinding after Swimming

I got off the bus back at the lodge and headed straight for the cabin. I didn’t want to be in neoprene any longer. I didn’t want to think about what I’d learned today. I didn’t want to move anymore.

I peeled off the wetsuit and hung it up on a hook. I knew there was little chance of it drying before I had to wriggle back into it in the morning but I could hope. I cracked the window of the cabin to let out some of the musty wetsuit humidity.

I slipped into dry clothes. Thick wool socks replaced my clammy sandals. Fleece replaced neoprene. I massaged and stretched my still-achy calf. I shoved my headlamp into my pocket, grabbed my logbook and a pencil, and meandered back to the lodge as Erin, Sarah, and Carmen bounced into the cabin chattering about weekend party plans.

I sat on the deck and filled out my logbook, a small notebook with waterproof paper that the program coordinators expected to keep as outdoor professionals in-training. I noted the date, the weather, our leaders, and our group size. I jotted down the facts of the day, the progression of modules we worked through. I thought about my lessons learned and changes I would make. A summer of personal training at the gym didn’t make me fit enough to swim in moving water. I would need to practice in order to be a stronger swimmer. I had underestimated my readiness for a career change. I couldn’t include any of those thoughts in the logbook so I simply wrote “BRING MORE WATER” in deference to my lower leg.

Classmates joined me on the deck. Some filled out their logbooks. Some sat and chatted. Some popped their earbuds in and dozed off in green wooden Adirondack chairs listening to music on their phones. It felt unusually quiet with only the thirty-three of us on site. The other outdoor programs had skills earlier in the week and WT’s weekday commercial rafting packages ended on the Labour Day weekend…

I’m writing a career change memoir and I’d love your feedback as I post small ~300 word blurbs. What do you want to know more about? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Comment below or e-mail me.

2 Responses to “Book Excerpt: Unwinding after Swimming

  • Ahhhh the life of an ODAN student ❤️Been there!!

  • I love this part: Thick wool socks replaced my clammy sandals. Fleece replaced neoprene.

    I like the textures. The transformations. I can feel it.

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