Thursday 23 November 2017

Sometimes you need to do a geographical

The Lap Pool in Kenmare is a cocoon buried deep in the building
The Lap Pool in Kenmare is a cocoon buried deep in the building
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Alcoholics have a saying, wherever you go, there you are. I assume that by this they mean that you can't run away from yourself or run away from your feelings by getting a change of scenery, or, as the alcoholics call it, doing a geographical.

I beg to differ. Sometimes there's nothing like doing a geographical to give you a bit of perspective, a bit of distance from whatever the drunk monkeys and the bad wolves in your head are telling you. It can jolt you out of your rut and restart you. I'm a great believer in the spiritual benefits of a journey, even if it's only a drive down the country. There's something about heading down one of the arteries through the heartlands. You can imagine you're doing an epic road trip. But you can call into Mum's house for a fry-up on the way.

But every spiritual journey needs a purpose. I decided I needed to do a geographical last weekend. And I had a ready-made purpose, to reboot my swimming in some way. I decided to go back to Marie Wade, the woman who taught me to swim, and to go back to her in the Lap Pool in the Park Hotel in Kenmare, the pool where I learnt to swim. There was something Heart of Darkness about it that appealed to me. I was going back to fix the problem at source, swimming back up the river to wash away the original sin.

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