On the peace picket line, I was chatting with one of the regulars, who, together with her husband, likes to go swimming. "Where do you go?" I asked. And she named a lake maybe 25 miles from here, a place I had swum when I was a kid -- surrounded by trees and the good smell of woods. She said they liked to go some distance from the main beach because then they could swim outside the ropes that designate the area over which life guards preside. "We like to try to swim a mile," she said. Both she and her husband are around 60. When the lifeguards yelled at them, they just moved to some place out of view of the lifeguards.
When I was a kid, there were no ropes and no lifeguards. I can remember going there with my father one day and telling him that I thought I would swim across the lake -- maybe a half a mile or better. He answered laconically, "go ahead." And so, using an ice-age boulder on the far side as a marking point, I did. It was harder than I thought, but, at 14 or 15, who worries about "hard?" I swam across, rested, and swam back.
Now, there are ropes.
Is there anyone who puts up ropes -- defines limitations -- and does not want to swim beyond those ropes? Maybe that's the function of ropes ... just letting you know that there is no "beyond."