Grasshopper Soup: Go jump in the lake |

Grasshopper Soup: Go jump in the lake

By Bob Sweigert

What is the most effective way to be unscathed by the grim realities of the world we live in today? How can we better manage the ever present risks of life and free ourselves from our hang ups, fears and anxieties? Do you want change you can believe in? Do you want to feel real hope? Go jump in the Lake.

Acting a little too politically zealous? Stop it. Recapture the innocence of youth.

Obama says let’s drink alcohol together to solve racial conflicts. Instead, he should tell his friends Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley to both go jump in the lake.

If you can’t jump in the lake, lose yourself in the slicing of a peach, the sitting in a chair beside the lake, the burning of the sun on your shoulders or the cool relief of your soul in the shade.

Devote yourself to the simple things, and don’t be surprised by all the miracles that will come your way. Simple things, like water, peeling a potato, calling a friend, opening the butter, doing the dishes, cleaning a fish, staying out of trouble (OK, so that isn’t the most simple thing).

Simple things, like savoring that cold beer you left sitting in an open glass in the refrigerator 27 hours ago, or dropping a heavy rubber raft flat on its belly in the river making a slap so loud the beavers stand up and take notice, and you feel like a real living, breathing animal, a true land and water creature.

Simple things, like picking up that piece of litter, remaining silent, doing the laundry and letting go of the water ski rope. It is in simple things that we can most easily embrace the profound, the sublime and the superlatives of ourselves and our environment. It is in practicing simple things that the difficult things we have to do become easy. Ask any saint.

Keep it simple. Jump! Dive! Don’t let the kinks and reluctance of age hold you back either. Remember when the wild blue yonder was yours for the taking, when there was no time between bare, primitive nature calling you forth and your willing response? For most of us, that happened the moment we could walk or crawl. Don’t lose it.

Go to Commons Beach and wade out a few hundred yards or more, closer and closer to the edge of the shallow (especially now) Tahoe City Shelf, where the lake bottom drops out from under you into diabolical depths averaging close to a thousand feet.

Swim down a few feet and take a look. Feel the power and pressure of the water, the tickling dance of bubbles on your skin. See yourself disappear into blurry reflections of water light, shimmering stones and sand bursting with sparks.

Tahoe summer days are about water. OK, there’s mountain biking too, and scaling the boulder pile which is the top of Twin Peaks, or the jutting crag of Rubicon Peak. But, no matter how far away, water is one of the main reasons we are here. Lake Tahoe gives us life. The Truckee River frees us. And you don’t have to drink the water to experience the vital jolt it will give you when you give yourself to it completely, recognizing its body is your body, its nature is your nature.

Am I talking philosophy here, or is this just the way it is? That is for those of us who know to know, and those of us who don’t to find out. Go! Jump in the lake!

Don’t let rumors of how cold the water is stop you. Monday, I swam beneath the waters of Tahoe for the first time since the summer of 2007. I felt like, wow! Finally! Someone who understands me. I’m in Love! Lake Tahoe is more me than I am.

But, in spite of every attempt I made to use the buoyancy and weightlessness of the water to twist and turn and crank the kink out of my spine that has been there all summer, it’s still there. But I couldn’t feel any better.

You know why I feel so good? Because I’m 59, and I jump in the lake.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.

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