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What It Is Like To Breathe Water

Updated on October 20, 2012
underside of raft and side view
underside of raft and side view

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!


Submit a Comment
  • tlmcgaa70 profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    mathew kirk, i am sorry you feel you must go through life hating others, especially those whom you disagree with. hopefully someday you will discover you dont have to.

  • profile image

    Matthew Kirk 

    6 years ago

    Try it again and do us all a favour

  • tlmcgaa70 profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    when a person drowns or suffocates, i think the thing that makes it so horrible is the panic one gets in their lungs when they run out of oxygen, it is natural to feel that panic. i remember waking up one night, and i was not breathing. but i had slept passed the panic stage, and the feeling was so unique that i just lay there and experienced it. i remember thinking that i had no desire to breathe. my body was at peace, completely relaxed. but then i gasped, and it started me breathing. it seems our bodies would fight to live even if we were ready to let it go. as a child, my lungs could not hold much air for long, and i gasped, but instead of gasping air i gasped water. that should have been the end of me. just remember this, when you are only lasts until your dead, then there is no more fear, pain or suffering. it is finished. thank you again for stopping in and reading and commenting. have a wonderful day.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    6 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Since you inhaled and exhaled water several times and lived to tell the tale, this makes me think that IF the experience is the same for everyone, it would not be a horrific death as I imagined it might. Up and interesting votes.

  • tlmcgaa70 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from south dakota, usa

    Thank you Reynold Jay for visiting and for your encouragement. I am glad you enjoyed my hub. thank you also for the votes. have a great evening. btw...i am also your fan now...loved the story you shared. you must have been a very loved and inspiring teacher.

  • Reynold Jay profile image

    Reynold Jay 

    7 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

    I was a beach rat when I was a kid. We did all kinds of stuff like this. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and awesome.” I'm always your fan! RJ

    Based upon your HUB, you might enjoy this HUB…

  • tlmcgaa70 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from south dakota, usa

    Jared, thank you for telling me that. it was my hope to write this in such a way to let others experience the feeling of the water in my lungs as i did. sometimes i have difficulty finding the words i want to express my thoughts or feelings, so i am not sure if i succeeded in accomplishing my goal. it helps that i share this with other writers, who for the most part have great imaginations themselves and have the ability to see what i am trying to describe.

    thank you again for coming by and reading this. have a wonderful day.

  • Jared Zane Kessie profile image

    Jared Zane Kessie 

    7 years ago from Richland, Washington

    Thanks for sharing your experience. You really captured the moment as I was able to visualize your experience.

  • tlmcgaa70 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from south dakota, usa

    thank you Carcro. the only reason i did not die that day is because it was not my time. i was given to GOD before i was born. satan has tried many times to end my life. one time he succeeded. i was three. JESUS told me it was not my time and i had to go back. HE has kept me safe from serious harm ever since. things do happen to me, but they must happen so that i may grow in strength and wisdom. but i cannot die until GOD says my time here is fulfilled. no man nor creature can harm me unless GOD allows it. no act of nature can harm me unless GOD allows it. this is what comes of living a life of complete obedience to HIM.

    thank you for coming by and reading this hub and for the votes. have a wonderful day.

  • carcro profile image

    Paul Cronin 

    7 years ago from Winnipeg

    Really awesome story, Its like you went as far as you could go without actually dying, like a split second away. I have been just the opposite, always had a fear of water. You have a special relationship with the watery world for sure. You could make a movie out of this, I think the sponge divers would have similar experiences. Thanks for sharing. Voted Up and Awesome.


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