- Education and Science
What It Is Like To Breathe Water
When I was between the ages of seven and nine years old, we were out at Cholla Lake one day. They had these two large wooden rafts floating out on the water, one right near the beach, by some reeds and one a little further out. Back then, I was a very shy kid and always played by myself or with my sisters. On this day, I was watching some kids playing under the raft near the shoreline. I either asked one what they were doing or I waited for them to leave and figured it out on my own, I can't remember. But after they were done playing, I went under there to try it out for myself.
You know, it really is odd the things that amuse kids. Under the rafts, they were made of large metal drums and wooden beams that criss-crossed through the center of the raft. In the very center of the raft, where the beams crossed each other, you had to duck under the water. If you did it right, you would come up on the other side, back into the narrow channel formed by the other beams that gave you a few inches of air above the water.
The "game" was to swim to the center, hold your breath, duck under the crossing beam, and come up on the other side. As I said...If you did it right, all was well, and you could turn around, duck back under and rejoin your friends. If you did not do it right...Well, let's just say all would not be well at all.
Did I tell you I was a water baby? The first time mom ever put me in the bath tub as a tiny baby, I scared her to death by flipping over off the sponge baby matt and trying to swim like a frog. I have never been afraid of water, always loved the stuff. So I was not afraid to try this little stunt now, even though I was alone. And the first time I tried it, all went smoothly, I came up on the other side as planned, ducked back under and popped up on the original side and for the life of me I can't see what the attraction of the thing was, but I decided to go again.
This time, I somehow came up crooked, and instead of coming up into the air pocket, I came up and bumped my head on the bottom of the raft. I have always had this thing, when I need to know where something is, a sort of white glow and strong pull will tell me which direction I need to go. As soon as I bumped my head on the bottom, I knew I had gone wrong, and I needed to know where the edge of the raft was, that glow and pull kicked in and i followed it, bumping my head along the way. Just as I hit the bottom edge of the raft, quite without intending to, I sucked in a deep breath of water...and exhaled it. I inhaled and exhaled deep lungfuls of water three times, exhaling just as I hit the surface, the last one. I made my way up the raft ladder coughing and weak and shaky, stretched out in the warm sun, and thought about what happened. No...I didn't think about the fact that I nearly drowned...That never even crossed my mind. I thought about what I did wrong. I knew I could do it right, because I had done it right once before. And...I made up my mind to do it again. I know...stupid!
The exact same thing happened as did the first time around... Identical the whole way through from start to finish. This time as i hauled myself up onto the raft, I was at least smart enough to realize the foolishness of continuing such a game...But the funny thing is that I still did not ponder the fact that I nearly died. Perhaps it is because I did not know that I had. You see, It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I learned that humans can't breathe water like that. And yet I think I knew it, because as much as I enjoyed the experience, and would love to have repeated it...I never had the nerve to.
Does it surprise you to hear that? Yes, I very much enjoyed breathing water. It was the most soothing experience, feeling that cool water flowing gently in and out of my lungs like that. Of course, I don't like to think of all the little lake creatures that took an unexpected trip in and maybe didn't come back out again...But hey, apparently they didn't do me any permanent harm.
If I don't know anything else, I do know this...Only GOD made it possible for me to breathe water that day. I owe HIM my life...And so very much more!